Temple University receives $700,000 in grants to create Urban Apps & Maps Studio

September 26, 2011 //

Temple University recently received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to build an Urban Apps & Maps Studio.

Envisioned as a hub for creating software applications, maps and data sets, the studio aims to solve various challenges in Philadelphia and the region and to create technology-based companies and jobs.

Temple also received nearly $200,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a test bed of campus and urban wireless networks as part of Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI).

The studio aims to connect one of the largest groups of information technology users – high school and college students – with urban entrepreneurs; community, civic and government organizations; and faculty to develop and commercialize the apps and maps designed by the studio. The primary goal of the program is to stimulate economic development, job creation and business ventures in underserved areas of Philadelphia and across the Northeast.

“Temple’s longstanding presence in and commitment to North Philadelphia will be further advanced through this groundbreaking initiative at the intersection of technology, civic innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “The Urban Apps & Maps Studio will contribute to the economic vibrancy of North Philadelphia, connecting residents and others to the city and region’s digital future.”

Temple is the only Philadelphia university selected for the EDA’s University Center Program. The EDA grants, totaling $12 million, were awarded to 21 university-based projects to enhance regional economic development tools and create jobs.

The NSF funding – awarded to Professor and Chair Jie Wu and colleagues in Temple’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences – complements the Urban Apps & Maps project and propels interdisciplinary collaboration to examine application design, mapping, and economic and community development using computer network technology.

The Urban Apps & Maps Studio’s planned fellowship program will give local high school, undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to learn from leading minds in diverse fields and will leverage the students’ technological expertise to address urban problems. The studio seeks to move software and database projects into applied use through commercialization and business development resources.

The grants facilitate a sweeping interdisciplinary collaboration that draws from many of Temple’s powerful resources and strong connections. Temple’s Center for Design+Innovation, directed by Fox School of Business Professor Youngjin Yoo, is partnering with Temple’s Center for Competitive Government, College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts, College of Science and Technology, Computer Fusion Laboratory, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Enterprise Management Consulting Practice, Department of Geography and Urban Studies, Information Technology and Society Research Group, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, Small Business Development Center and Tyler School of Art.

“The interdisciplinary team’s apps will address urgent human needs in urban environments,” said Yoo, a professor of management information systems and strategy. “The ultimate goal is to establish a vibrant urban ecosystem for digital entrepreneurship in North Philadelphia over the next five years.”

The funding furthers Temple’s regional and national engagement with the City of Philadelphia and its OpenAccessPhilly movement, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Clark University in Massachusetts, and Code for America. The grants also prompt a wave of interdisciplinary research and development in the areas of digital innovation, urban ecology, geographical information systems, low-powered intelligent sensor networks, and mobile health, among others.

“Both projects provide a unique opportunity to connect students, faculty and community partners through geographic, information, and communications technologies to solve intractable development problems both locally in Philadelphia, and in other urban settings,” said Department of Geography and Urban Studies Chair Michele Masucci, who also serves as Temple’s director of research development in the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education.

Economic Development
Administration grant, $500,000

Principal Investigator:

Youngjin Yoo, Fox School of Business

Co-Principal Investigators:

Li Bai, College of Engineering

Jie Wu, College of Science and Technology

Michele Masucci, College of Liberal Arts

Hamil Pearsall, Clark University

Additional Personnel:

TL Hill, Fox School of Business

Jaine Lucas, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute

Eustace Kangaju, Small Business Development Center

James Moustafellos, Fox School of Business

National Science Foundation grant, $200,000

Principal Investigator:

Jie Wu, College of Science and Technology

Co-Principal Investigators:

Eugene Kwatny, College of Science and Technology

Shan Lin, College of Science and Technology

Chiu Chiang Tan, College of Science and Technology

Youngjin Yoo, Fox School of Business