Connecting Innovation Policy and Practice Ohio (CIPPO) 2022

Introduction and Innovation Policy Landscape: Federal and State Innovation Policies and Programs across the United States

About The Panel

In this panel, Dr. Iryna V. Lendel presents the study conducted by the Center for Economic Development on the current landscape of federal and state level innovation policies and how they can help shape Ohio’s innovation ecosystem. 


Nigamanth Sridhar – Interim Provost, Cleveland State University 
Dr. Nigamanth Sridhar currently serves as Interim Provost at Cleveland State University. Prior to this role, he was the program Director at the National Science Foundation, focused on cybersecurity education as well as holding a faculty position in Computer Science in CSU’s Washkewicz College of Engineering. During the time he has been at CSU, Dr. Sridhar has built a strong research program that has been continuously funded by federal and foundation grants for over a decade. These grant-funded projects have helped CSU attain national prominence and reputation in the areas of software engineering, connected devices, and computer science education. Dr. Sridhar has been an active citizen of the CSU community, participating in the shared governance of the university. He served as President of Faculty Senate and as faculty representative to the CSU Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2017. Dr. Sridhar received his Ph.D. and MS degrees in Computer Science from The Ohio State University and an undergraduate degree in Information Systems from BITS Pilani in India. 

Iryna V. Lendel – Senior Director of Regional Economic and Community Development, The Upjohn Institute 
Dr. Iryna V. Lendel was a Research Associate Professor and the Director of the Center for Economic Development at the School of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. Dr. Lendel is an economist with vast experience conducting academic and applied research and analyzing regional economic development. Her research portfolio includes projects on industrial analysis, including high-tech industries, the oil and gas industry, art industries, steel industry and re-emerging optics industry; regional growth; technology-based economic development; technology transfer and ecology of innovation. She also writes on economic impact and the role of universities in regional economies. Dr. Lendel recently transitioned into the role of Senior Director of Regional Economic and Community Development at the Upjohn Institute in August of 2022.  

Susan Brehm – Regional Director, Chicago Office, U.S. EDA 
Susan Brehm serves as the Regional Director of EDA’s Chicago Regional Office. She leads a team of economic development professionals in developing and managing the agency’s investments to support the creation of higher-skill, higher-wage jobs and to encourage private investment, innovation, entrepreneurship, and global competitiveness throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, as well as Muscatine and Scott Counties in Iowa.  

Susan joined EDA in 2013 as Regional Counsel. Prior to her federal service, she was an associate with Sidley Austin LLP, where she advised local governments and institutional nonprofits on land use and other real property matters and litigated complex class actions. She also had a robust pro bono practice, successfully representing asylees, veterans, and incarcerated individuals. She earned a law degree at the University of California – Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. In the years between earning her degrees, Susan launched a small business providing editorial services to publishers.