Skip to Content

Darla Moore School of Business

  • Smartstate Center for Innovation and Commercialization

The SmartState® Center for Innovation + Commercialization is dedicated to preparing students, and thus their organizations, to successfully lead and manage innovation.


Apple founder Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” That statement applies to both companies and individuals. Today, organizations of all sizes and in all industries understand the importance of innovation. Whether it’s products, services or processes, innovation solves customer needs, drives growth, creates differentiation and attracts the best talent. Innovation has many sources such as R&D labs or licensed technology. The challenge lies in bridging the gap between science and technology and the marketplace.

South Carolina’s “Smart” Approach to Innovation and Opportunities 

In 2002, the South Carolina General Assembly established the SmartState® Program to recruit world-class researchers and scientists aligned with six industry clusters* to the state’s research universities, including the University of South Carolina. The result is the creation of 51 SmartState Centers, led by 75 SmartState Endowed Chairs. These SmartState Endowed Chairs are tasked with igniting South Carolina’s economy, supporting job creation and providing educational opportunities for students, who in turn will be better prepared to lead and staff South Carolina businesses.

*Advanced Materials/Nanotechnology; Automotive, Transportation & Logistics; Biomedical; Energy/Future Fuels/Smart Grid; Information Science; and Pharmaceutical.

About the Center

The Darla Moore School of Business is home to the SmartState Center for Innovation + Commercialization, led by SmartState Endowed Chair Laura B. Cardinal. The center serves as a critical interface between SmartState Centers and those interested in tapping into the innovation-oriented research, commercialization, and educational opportunities of the SmartState Endowed Chairs and their research labs. Access to these centers facilitates more opportunities in South Carolina for corporate technology firms, tech-consuming companies, small-to-medium enterprise firms, startups, investors, employees and students.

Preparing Students

The SmartState Center for Innovation + Commercialization is committed to educating the next generation of job-ready innovation experts through the Moore School's Professional MBA program and Strategic Innovation Certificate. The center offers the following courses: MGMT 733 Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, MGMT 776 Strategic Planning, and MGMT 775 Competitive Strategy Analysis. This curriculum provides students with a strong foundation concerning the language, processes, and management of innovation and why it is mission critical for business. The center’s PMBA courses are designed to enhance the current workforce talent at companies as well as new STEM talent going into industry from graduate programs. Students from all walks of life will gain a deep understanding of the science behind technology and innovation, and how to strategically lead and manage innovation efforts. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.