Innovation center opens on Temple Health Sciences campus

The new Innovation Nest encourages Temple staff to commercialize their research into products.

One of the rooms in the iNest. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple unveiled Innovation Nest, a center that aims to commercialize university research into products and spur student innovation, with a grand opening in the Kornberg School of Dentistry on March 19.

Housed on the fourth floor of the Kornberg School of Dentistry, the facility is more than 8,000 square feet and includes labs, meeting rooms, event spaces and more.

“As a research institution, it is part of our mission to ensure we disseminate the important work of our scholars for the benefit of society, including findings that will result in new products and services,” said Josh Gladden, vice president for research. “And this team is exactly here to do that: to help that researcher, that innovator, that faculty member, that student, with a great idea or a great discovery and figure out what the next steps are.”

iNest research will focus on rapidly growing areas Temple is not currently focused on. This includes agriculture, life sciences, robotics and artificial intelligence, manufacturing and energy, said Jen Gilburg, deputy secretary of technology and entrepreneurship at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

iNest will offer programs on pre-company tech development, spinout development and investment, networking and community activities, and business support and market positioning.

Mayor Cherelle Parker, a guest of honor at the grand opening, spoke on the importance of innovation in North Philadelphia.

“I’ve spoken time and time again about the importance of creating a path to self sufficiency for the people of this city,” Parker said. “I think that this investment by Temple is one of the many paths that we will create to put people on the path to self-sufficiency.”

Mayor Cherelle Parker at the iNest grand opening on Mar 19, 2024. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The event featured other speakers including Gladden, Gilburg and Marv Woodall, the co-founder and executive chairman at Thrombolex, a Temple start-up company.

The Office of the Vice President for Research soft-launched iNest in November. The office held several smaller events in the space and brought on several companies to begin development, but the finishing touches and scheduling led to the March official opening, Gladden said.

Some teams — like Muse Engine, a Temple start-up company that is currently working on 3D printing and molding innovation — have already moved into the labs at the iNest while moving forward with research and development. Muse Engine hired a Temple intern, serving as an example of how students can be involved in projects at iNest.

“You can learn a lot of stuff with textbooks, classes and whatnot, but it’s nothing like being like the real world,” said Yazeed Altayeb, a senior mechanical engineering student. “And actually seeing this stuff for yourself has been amazing so far.”

The idea for the program started about eight years ago. Then, details on structure, funding, and organization were fleshed out before starting construction, Gladden said.

iNest is planning on taking on more start-ups, specifically those from faculty, staff and students.

“There’s a lot of innovation and manufacturing that’s happened here [in North Philadelphia] over the years,” Gladden said. “And tying that back to this space, and what the next chapter that might look like, that’s super exciting.”

The iNest grand opening on Mar 19, 2024. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

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