universities, centers, and incubators, and “secondary culture,” which are less formal, including weekly parties, the governor’s broadband initiative, coaching on how to get SBIR awards, and the rich environment of foundations that could further support innovation. The significance of the secondary culture, he said, was that it can help move an innovation culture faster than it might naturally move. “I saw this along the Route 128 belt 20 years ago,” he said, “where there was a lot of that secondary infrastructure building. I think direct attention should be paid to this.”

Dr. O’Halloran said that this was the third time foundations had been mentioned “at critical points.” There are already some templates in Chicago for foundation involvement, he said, such as the $50 million investment by the Searle Funds into the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC) over a 10-year period. This organization has provided vital links between major Chicago-area research institutions, leveraged a number of major new team-science grant awards, provided common research assets, and stimulated a variety of scientific meetings and poster sessions. “This is a beginning, and will just scratch the surface of the Chicago philanthropic community. It’s time for that to happen.”

Dr. Testa closed the panel by suggesting that in place of a general call for funding, the innovation ecosystem could best benefit from a prioritized list of what needs to be done, along with the organizational changes required. This might include not only an agenda, but also ways to create new innovation communities, sub-communities, and “super-communities.” “Some of this is brick-by-brick work,” he said. “You couldn’t write a single check for this and have it be effective. Some clearly are shovel-ready projects that could be very productive in your university and Chicago region. But many require leadership, organization, and the communities that so many of us have discussed.”



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