Brown and the Innovation Economy


In June 2017, Provost Richard M. Locke launched a new initiative -- Brown and the Innovation Economy -- to develop a strategy for how the University can best contribute to innovation and the growth of stable, well-paying jobs in Rhode Island.

Brown is making investments in research, education, and infrastructure with the potential for meaningful economic impact. The following are among the more prominent examples:

The Brown and the Innovation Economy project focuses on how the University's investments can align most effectively with the efforts of business, government, and other universities in Rhode Island to contribute to a robust state economy.

Project Components

Research: interviews with university, business, and government officials in Rhode Island and elsewhere are focused on identifying the obstacles to past economic development initiatives as well as the current economic development initiatives with momentum. The research aims to understand the politics of economic development in Rhode Island: what are actors’ interests and how are they pursuing them?

Convening: Brown will host a series of breakfast meetings in 2017-2018 focused on areas where Brown and other institutions in the state are investing (e.g. entrepreneurship, life sciences). Each meeting will feature a presentation from an entity outside Rhode Island that has had success innovating in the subject area, as well as a perspective from within the state. The Provost will then facilitate a conversation among business, university, and government leaders exploring opportunities for cooperation among the array of Rhode Island initiatives in each subject area.

Action: Brown will develop an economic development plan based on the findings from interviews and the breakfast discussions. The strategy will identify actions that Brown can take -- new or amended programs, investments, and policies -- to strengthen its role in the local economy.