Friday, February 21, 2014

PORTAL Harnesses the Power of UNC Charlotte

By Jared Moon

With the doors to the University’s newest building officially open, local media was invited to tour the newly minted PORTAL building for a first-hand look at the building and what it has to offer.

A marriage of vision and practicality, PORTAL—an acronym for Partnership, Outreach and Research to Accelerate Learning—is a $35 million facility designed to be a central hub for industry, academia and research, providing a place to connect the campus and the community for economic development. Robert Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development, and Paul Wetenhall, president of Ventureprise, UNC Charlotte’s business incubator, spoke with a cohort of journalists (representing the Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Business Journal, WSOC-TV, TWC News 14 and Fox Carolinas) about the University’s commitment to economic development through collaboration with the business community and how PORTAL is a visible embodiment of that commitment.

Vice Chancellor Robert Wilhelm briefs media on the research and collaboration attributes of PORTAL.
The media tour got started in the building’s vast, contemporary atrium that possesses a more business friendly atmosphere, rather than academic. 

The space is designed to promote interaction and collaboration among tenants and visitors, and innovate by enabling academic, corporate and entrepreneurial communities to interact.

The atrium is surrounded by offices and meeting rooms, and features two conference rooms with floor-to-ceiling glass walls that serve as bridges spanning the upper levels of the atrium.

Driving MBA is a PORTAL tenant whose technology teaches safe driving.
Winding through the four-story, 96,000-square-foot building, the tour showcased the ample conference and seminar space available to tenants; a café that stimulates connections and eliminates the need to leave for lunch; roughly 25,000 square feet of office space for 20-24 young companies within Ventureprise (also housed in PORTAL), which also includes a student business incubator; and roughly 20,000 square feet on the fourth floor for corporate partners with substantive research and training collaborations.

Also calling PORTAL home is the Office of Technology Transfer, the University entity that identifies, protects and commercializes University research and intellectual property.  The office is one of the country’s best in putting intellectual capital to work. Considering the external orientation of PORTAL, the Office of Technology Transfer is a natural fit.

PORTAL will be officially dedicated Friday, Feb. 28.

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Jared Moon is communications coordinator in the Office of Public Relations.

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