North Carolina State’s College of Management has won a $319,000 grant from Xerox for a three-year initiative focused on professional service and innovation management.

Xerox, which has worked with NCSU’s Center for Innovation Management Studies for the past 2½ years, is placing more emphasis on professional services as a revenue generator. The company sees the NCSU program as an investment not only in development of new services but also as a way to recruit employees, according to spokesperson Bill McKee.

“We feel that what is happening at NCSU is a development that is particularly valuable to us,” McKee said. “This program not only provides us with access to graduate students who might be potential employees, but also will help us develop future technologies.”

Noting that the services sector is the fastest-growing part of the global economy, McKee said services represented some $4 billion a year out of nearly $16 billion in annual revenues.

NCSU will use the grant to create courses focused on services and innovation management.

“We are operating in a service-led economy, and increasingly larger segments of our Xerox research portfolio are dedicated to developing differentiated technologies for services,” said Sophie Vandebroek, chief technology office and president of the Xerox Innovation Group, in a statement. “Our collaboration with faculty at NC State, who are global leaders in services and innovation management, is an excellent way to advance knowledge in this area.”

The College of Management offers two programs focused on service development – the Center for Innovation Management Studies and the Service and Product Innovation Initiative.

“Establishing such industry-academic partnerships reflects the university’s commitment to economic development,” said James Oblinger, NCSU’s chancellor. “Our students benefit through relevant coursework and employment opportunities that evolve from these relationships, and both the faculty and industry benefit through a dynamic exchange of knowledge.”

Xerox is expanding service offerings such as document management, McKee noted. Xerox works with customers to manage digital documents on a global basis and is creating what he called “smart technologies” that will enable documents to be routed over networks with the appropriate levels of security.