Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ready for the next season of Science Cafe? Let us know what you think!

It has been quite a season for Science Cafe since we kicked off of the Year of the SmartState in September. We're planning our upcoming season of programming, and before we get too far, we want to hear what you think

We're excited to keep providing a lineup of incredible speakers. Whether it was Dr. Charlie Bennett and his research uncovering the health risks of every day pharmaceutical and medical products, Dr. Scott Mason sharing the "science of Santa, or Dr. Simon Hudson sharing the soft science of love, we hope you enjoyed a year of programming that featured, literally, the world's foremost experts in their fields. 

But most importantly, we hoped we've helped you find some like-minded folks in the community who are passionate about the Midlands power as a global leader in innovation. 

Ultimately, every Science Cafe is about rallying the community around a passion for science and technology and turning that passion into a vision. We firmly believe that residents in the Midlands believe their home region is one of the best places in the world to innovate the world's top technologies, build sustainable businesses, and recruit and employ the top talent to expand the success of those innovations. 

At Science Cafe, we just want to help connect you to the real life stories that back that belief up.

If you missed a few Science Cafes this past year, here's a little about the community we've been building! It's incredibly diverse! Take a look at who has been attending, tell us what you thought about the past year, then register for the next Science Cafe and meet some fellow science enthusiasts!
  • We covered an array of topics from the science behind Santa's supply chain, to marine genomics revealing the dangers of your  adverse drug effects, almost guaranteeing a topic of interest for everyone
  • We had a dedicated crowd of 90 repeat attendees; they must have found something they liked!
  • We've had a great audience, averaging about 50 attendees per month! Our largest event had over 100 attendees!
  • We've had attendees from all ages, ranging from 15 to 89 years old! When we did the math, our average age for registered attendees was about 48 years old, though we think most of our walk-ins were a bit younger.
  • We've great balance in people with the audiences split virtually in half between male and female
  • Science Cafe has brought together a diverse list of thought leaders from across the state, including the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, and the Medical University of South Carolina through an amazing partnership with our friends at the SmartState program
*This data applies only to those attendees that registered in advance

Science Cafe could not have had the success it has seen without the phenomenal community that continues to engage in powerful, thought-provoking discussions. More importantly, we can't do it without your feedback.

Please share your opinions with this quick survey and we look forward to seeing everyone at the next Science Cafe on July 9!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fuel Cell Environment in South Carolina with Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider

Join us at Science Cafe
EngenuitySC's popular networking event and lecture series continues this July, expanding our expertise to another field of scientific research.  We will be raising our glasses with Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider, Smartstate Endowed Chair in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, at the University of South Carolina. 

Join us for the tenth installment of our Year of the Smartstate series where Dr. Reifsnider will discuss Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. 

Come grab a drink in one of our smart-looking Science Cafe pint glasses, and mix and mingle with fellow science-oriented Columbians. Get excited, get your questions - And join us!

When and Where
Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider
Smartstate Endowed Chair in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
University of South Carolina

Tuesday, July 9th

711 Saluda Ave. Columbia, SC 29205

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Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider, Smartstate
Endowed Chair in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells 

Dr. Reifsnider is the SmartState Endowed Chair in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells at the University of South Carolina. A member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Reifsnider’s research focus is in fuel cell science and mechanical engineering, with a focus on how materials behave—their durability, damage tolerance, and the way they perform over time. Fuel cells are continually replenished with fuel and thus provide a continuous supply of electric power without running down like a battery. Solid oxide fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy.

His research holds tremendous relevance and applicability as the world searches for safe, clean energy sources. Fuel cells hold tremendous promise for commercial and personal power. Applications include large-scale power distribution for municipalities, rural areas and industries, as well as heat and power for homes. They could also provide mobile power for computers, cell phones and other electronics. 
The work of Dr. Reifsnider and USC has attracted a cadre of influential partners, including General Motors, Boeing, BASF, John Deere, LG Electronics, and the Savannah River National Laboratory.

Dr. Reifsnider is highly regarded. In 2009, the White House named him to the Air Force Science Advisory Board. He is the only University of South Carolina researcher who is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is a former Deputy Director of a National Science Foundation Center. Prior to joining the USC faculty, he was the director of the Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center at the University of Connecticut. To learn more about Dr. Reifsnider, visit smartstate.org.    

Learn more about Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider's background and register for the event at engenuitysc.com/sciencecafe.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

EngenuitySC Kicks Off Competitiveness Workshop

The Columbia Regional Competitiveness Workshop series kicked off by mapping a strategy to improve the competitiveness of the Columbia region through an emphasis on entrepreneurship. We had folks like Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre, BB&T President Mike Brenan, COR Executive Director Katherine Swartz, and more. If you couldn't make it, here's a recap of what you saw: 

George Hutton, Executive Director for EngenuitySC, kicked off the series by highlighting the challenges Columbia faces, the opportunities for economic growth through a focus on competitiveness, and the Columbia Regional Competitiveness Workshop series' goal to bring together key stakeholders to capture opportunities. Hutton laid the groundwork for the goal of the series, its impact on Columbia, and how we stack up quantitatively and qualitatively against peer regions like Austin, Texas, Raleigh, N.C., and Charleston, S.C.

We hosted a fantastic panel of keynote speakers moderated by Bill Kirkland from the new USC Office of Economic Engagement. Speakers and panelists included Dirk Brown from the Faber Center for Entrepreneurship at the Moore School of Business, Greg Clark of SCRA, Greg Hilton from CETi, and Tom Ledbetter from Midlands Technical College. Here are some of the main highlights from their talks:

Dirk Brown:
  • We can be more productive when we engage in conversation like this
  • We need to strengthen our ecosystem for new ventures and differentiate our offerings
  • How do we keep successful startups like RidePost and Watsi in the Midlands?
    • We need money, talent, and suppliers/support/anchor customers
    • They need resources here to grow here
Greg Clark:
  • Proper economic development can lead to a return on investment
  • There is a lot of opportunity in commercializing intellectual property
    • Licensing and formation opportunities
  • Challenges
    • Lack of angel investors and venture capital
    • Lack of experienced c-level talent to manage and grow startups through investment periods
  • Opportunity
    • Influx of mentors and retired executives to the area
Greg Hilton/Tom Ledbetter:
  • We have interest in really getting something done, not just talking about it
  • We are creating our own environment rather than being just like every other city. Embrace our culture and uniqueness!
  • Goals/opportunities
    • Create an environment to grow
    • Develop a killer startup environment
    • Change the culture to take more risks
    • Build better entrepreneurs & talent
    • Be able to say "no" to certain startups and nurture the "winners" - It's okay to be selective
Here's some area where you can help - Have a solution? Want to get involved? Drop us a note a ghutton@engenuitysc.com.
  • We need more risk capital flowing through Columbia
  • Development and recruitment of local talent is key to our growth and success
  • We need the community to come together and want startups to grow and thrive - We have to celebrate our successes!
  • Our community should be committed to being the welcoming party for a company visit - We need to own creating a group dedicated to dropping everything to welcome a new company
  • We have strategies to accelerate the startup process
  • Greg Hilton needs mentors for his incubators companies - people willing to spend a few hours for open office hours
  • Investors need to be connected with talent they may not know of
  • A unified group of business people is vital
  • We need to talk up the future of Columbia and create a buzz

Thank you to all who attended and keep an eye out for our next event in September! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Improving Drug Safety with Dr. Charles Bennett

Event Details

Improving Drug Safety

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Dr. Charles Bennett
Smartstate Endowed Chair in Medication Safety & Efficacy
University of South Carolina

Tuesday, June 11th



711 Saluda Ave. Columbia, SC 29205

SmartState Video - Regan Voit

Improving Drug Safety with Dr. Charles Bennett
Join us at Science Cafe
EngenuitySC's popular networking event and lecture series continues this June as we pay tribute to National Safety Month and Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Week.  We will be raising our glasses with Dr. Charles Bennett, Smartstate Endowed Chair in Medication Safety & Efficacy and founder of RADAR, which investigates and disseminates information about adverse drug and device reactions.
Join us for the ninth installment of our Year of the Smartstate series where Dr. Bennett will discuss his current work toward preventing adverse drug events and improving medication safety.  

Come grab a drink in one of our smart-looking Science Cafe pint glasses, and mix and mingle with fellow science-oriented Columbians. 
Get excited, get your questions - And join us!

Dr. Charles Bennett, Smartstate
Endowed Chair in Medication Safety and Efficacy 

Dr. Bennett is the SmartState Endowed Chair in Medication Safety and Efficacy at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy. A hematologist and oncologist, Dr. Bennett’s research focuses on ways to make drug information more consumer-friendly and creating new training tools for healthcare providers.

Dr. Bennett has first-hand experience with commercializing technology and starting new companies. In 1998, he founded internationally known RADAR (Research on Adverse Drug events And Reports), which investigates and disseminates information about adverse drug and device reactions. During the last decade, the company’s work has identified potentially fatal and previously unreported side effects associated with more than 40 drugs. 
Dr. Bennett has also had a well-supported career, receiving more than $4.2 million in federal research grants. To learn more about Dr. Bennett, visit smartstatesc.org/charles-bennett   

Learn more about Dr. Charles Bennett's background and register for the event at engenuitysc.com/sciencecafe.