With industrial hemp helping define the future economic landscape of Kentucky, Freedom Seed and Feed, LLC has partnered with the University of Pikeville to develop a research institute designed to facilitate the development of this new industry within the coalfield region of Eastern Kentucky.
Paul E. Patton, chancellor and interim president of the University of Pikeville, shared his enthusiasm for the project. “Being the leading university of Central Appalachia, we are the perfect anchor institution for this type of initiative,” said Patton. “The institute’s focus on student-based research is an essential ingredient to enriching the University of Pikeville’s focus on service learning. Research development will be a critical component in helping create a stronger economy in Appalachia. We are excited about this partnership.”
“This institute will bring some of the brightest minds in the world together to develop what I believe to be one of the most sustainable industries in the world. I couldn’t think of a better mix,” said Mike Lewis, COO of Freedom Seed and Feed. “This is not only an investment into industrial hemp, this is an investment into a region that has given our country so much. Central Appalachia’s transition is an important investment that all American’s should strongly consider.”
“Some of the most innovative, hardest working and resilient people in the American workforce live and work right here in Central Appalachia, and it is that energy and innovation that we intend to harness and empower with this project,” said Lewis.
According to J. Eric Mathis, the institute’s senior innovation consultant, the Institute for Regenerative Design and Innovation or IRDI, will be “a leader in the emerging field of regenerative development that will provide premier research and development services beginning with the industrial hemp sector.”
“Situated in one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, IRDI is actively linking industrial hemp to this invaluable asset. Presently, we are identifying biologically derived materials from within the region and then blending them with established industrial hemp products,” said Mathis.
With a specific focus on industrial hemp, the institute is charged with developing a regional research and development model centered on regenerative design. A leading expert in the management of research and development and an innovation consultant for the institute, director of Aalto University’s Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research Hans Schaffers, stated that “while the average innovation success rate is fairly low, products launched using our proposed open-innovation methodology will potentially have a considerably higher success rate due to the institute’s unique public-private-user partnerships.”
“The market applications of regenerative design cross the entire spectrum of the industrial hemp sector. From bio-pharmaceuticals to building materials, the regenerative design approach to innovation will set a new precedent in market development,” said Mathis. “It is really quite simple, by involving potential consumers and producers from the beginning, we create inherent efficiency within the innovation process as a whole.”
“Given the early stages of the industrial hemp sector, this innovation process is well suited to produce profitable outcomes,” said Schaffers.
Open-innovation requires more than a partnership between a private entity and a university. “It requires support from the government as well. Kentucky is a perfect storm for integrating a collaborative governance process. With SOAR and the bi-partisan support of industrial hemp, eastern Kentucky is ripe for capitalizing on these synergistic opportunities,” said Wendy Willis, director of Policy Consensus Initiative and senior collaborative governance consultant for the institute.
“It is my hope that the institute will convene all the necessary partners to situate industrial hemp as the predominant force in ushering in a new era of regenerative development in Central Appalachia and beyond,” said Lewis. “Regenerative design and innovation provides hope for the next generation and industrial hemp will lead the way in providing an applied model for this new approach to development.”
The University of Pikeville will begin its 2015 industrial hemp pilot projects in early spring.
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Full Article: Industrial hemp helping define Kentucky’s economic landscape – Floyd County Times – floydcountytimes.com
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