We facilitate the development and commercialization of ideas emanating from UCR and the community for the benefit of society.
Reporting to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, the Office of technology partnerships encompasses Technology Commercialization, Corporate & Strategic Partnerships, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The mission of the Office is to catalyze the translation of University research and discoveries to the private sector and to provide opportunities for the faculty, students and community at large to explore entrepreneurial endeavors. The structure of the Office as one integrated unit, allows it to be highly effective in interacting with the private sector and the internal stakeholders as they aim at seeking collaborations with the private sector.
Our vision is to establish UC Riverside as the partner of choice connecting the university, industry and the community. To accomplish this we have built the framework to support the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at UC Riverside and have worked to integrate the operation of our corporate and strategic partners and technology commercialization teams.
2016-2017 Initiatives and Annual Report
With the support from internal funds and grants from the Economic Development Administration and State Funds through the AB 2664 allocation, we have launched a regional Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept Center (EPIC), partnered with the UCR Library to launch a maker space for our students (Creat’R Lab) and supported the launch of the Center for Molecular and Translational Medicine (MolMed). One million dollars have been allocated to support a wet lab incubator at the MRB1 building and $600,000 have been secured from federal and state funds to support our citrus research capabilities.
To support our entrepreneurship activities, we launched the Startups for Innovators Workshops and have already recruited 11 Entrepreneurs in Residence and mentors for our classes. Our Economic Development mission is reflected through our support of the region in the form of entrepreneurship workshops for the community, the revamping of the ExCITE incubator in partnership with the city and the county and the launch of the first regional early stage venture capital fund in Riverside County. The Highlander Venture Fund will provide early stage financing to qualified startups affiliated with UC Riverside and the region. The enthusiasm and participation of UC Riverside and the community are reflected in the active participation in these programs. Over 46 teams have been trained through our workshops, 100 opportunities are being reviewed by our EPIC program and 12 startups have been recruited at ExCITE.
In the upcoming year, our efforts will be devoted to strengthening these nascent organizations, increase our communication and transparency with our stakeholders and achieve sustainability of these programs. Faculty, students and staff now have access to the resources needed to receive individualized support to accomplish their goals, whether it be to protect their discoveries, partner with a company to support advancement of their research, or start their own company.
2017-2018 Initiatives and Annual Report
Our focus was on growing and strengthening our network of collaborators and supporters within UCR and in the region. Our team has been actively working to increase engagement of OTP’s services and resources across campus and in the community. To increase transparency and communication with faculty, we are in the process of implementing an online platform that will provide real-time information on patent and agreement statuses as well as the ability to submit online disclosures.
Building from the key pillars identified in the UCR attraction plan, we identified areas of research excellence that give UCR unique advantages and have been reaching out to potential sponsors, partners and funders who would be interested in working with the university. This led to the establishment of important initiatives with corporate partners that will focus on pursuing the development and commercialization of UCR’s intellectual property. Some successes that we will be highlighting in this report are the initiation of AVIP and the signing of two multi-million dollar agreements for battery technology developed at UCR.
Leveraging the entrepreneurial infrastructure we built over the past 2 years, we focused on the creationand funding of entrepreneurial support programs to expand the number of resources that UCR and community innovators have access to as they grow their companies by becoming an NSF I-Corps Site and an SBDC. Through our programs, we delivered over 20 workshops, coached over 150 entrepreneurs, and supported over 130 companies in the pipeline. We have been fortunate to recruit over 14 industry experts who have joined our EPIC program as Entrepreneurs in Residence to help support our innovators’ journey from having idea all the way to the launch of a company.We continue to support the region’s growth in the innovation ecosystem through our activities with the Riverside County Innovation Month, IE Startup Week and active participation in the IE-GO, Workforce Development Board and the Inland Empire Latina Women Association.
In 2018-2019, our goals are to continue diversifying sources of funding, increase outreach and engagement with faculty and students, alumni and community members, implement tools that allow for better communication with our faculty and stakeholders, and strengthen areas of collaboration with our corporate partners.
2018-2019 Initiatives and Annual Report
Over the past three years, our office has been actively engaged in building the infrastructure needed to support UCR and community innovators accelerate the translation of their ideas into products and services for the benefit of society.
Through its strong partnership with local and regional organizations that has led to securing over $17 million in funding, OTP has taught 15 Innovat’R workshops to 127 teams, delivered almost $1 million in proof of concept funds to over 30 faculty projects and mentored over 200 projects and companies through its EPIC SBDC and SBIR/STTR resource centers. We are fortunate to have engaged 15 expert Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and instructors who provide specialized commercialization assistance to our region’s entrepreneurs.
We are also taking a proactive role in building bridges with our corporate partners both local, nationally and internationally. This past year we welcomed 18 industry partners on campus and signed a 5-year strategic agreement with our long time licensee Eurosemillas. This includes securing worldwide industry partners to help us commercialize the avocado and rootstock varieties from our renown breeding program. The expanded partnership will focus on increasing research and development collaboration, and accelerate transfer of UCR Intellectual Property.
We are very excited about our partnership with the Western Growers Association to explore areas to bring advanced technology to support our California farmers. Our partnership with Clean Tech San Diego and the University of San Diego will help clean energy entrepreneurs have access to specialized mentorship from these organizations through the recently expanded Southern California Regional Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN) program.
Lastly, we are also proud of our international partnerships. Our strategic collaboration with Know Hub Chile and the Organization of American States will not only help UCR expand its presence in Latin America but also build bridges between universities and research institutions, bringing technology into the marketplace through capacity building, mentoring, technology assistance and training programs.
2019-2020 Initiatives and Annual Report
Our Office of Technology Partnerships has successfully concluded another year full of accomplishments in our efforts towards strengthening and growing our innovation economy in the Inland Empire. In March of this year, the team transitioned to work virtually while continuing to diligently engage with our stakeholders.
As outlined by this 2019-2020 annual report, we accomplished a significant number of high priority projects with a focus on activities to help us better understand our operations, increase efficiency, improve customer outreach and build overall resilience in our organization.
This year’s annual report is a snapshot of the many accomplishments of our team. In particular, I want to highlight some major outcomes that reflect our commitment to quality:
• Our Small Business Development Center (EPIC SBDC) assisted over 250 small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in securing PPP and EIDL loans.
• Our pipeline of scalable companies from UCR and the region continues to increase. We have now supported over 400 new ventures, 50% from UC Riverside. We are currently actively helping raise over $9M in investment capital for 11 startups. This year alone, 6 of our startups raised over $4M dollars.
• Our Life Science Incubator re-opened in October and we have our first two companies in residence. Our hope is that, as soon as the pandemic is over, an additional ten companies will be able to become tenants conducting cutting edge research and development.
• We continue supporting and encouraging partnerships with industry. This past year, our team negotiated over 200 material transfer agreements and 55 non-disclosure agreements with industry partners. We successfully negotiated over 80 sponsored research agreements totaling 6 million dollars.
We are now ready to leverage our team to focus on those areas of great expertise in the region. We are looking forward to the launch of the OASIS HUB and OASIS Innovations, a new initiative to drive the creation of an innovation cluster focused on sustainability, clean technology, and agriculture innovations.
As we continue building our region, we are also excited about the potential of our partnership with the Naval Surface Warfare Center and the community stakeholders in the creation of the Inland TechBridge. This initiative will allow us to build and grow collaborations with the private sector and the US Navy and commercialize technologies in data visualization, sensors, measurements and artificial intelligence.
2020-2021 Initiatives and Annual Report
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered how we function as a university and a society and numerous challenges remain, but I keep on being impressed with the resilience of our faculty, students, and staff and how our campus has come together to confront the difficulties we faced since the pandemic started. In particular, my colleagues in the Office of Technology Partnerships (OTP) have managed to have a very productive year and I am extremely thankful for and proud of their efforts.
OTP continued to help our inventors and entrepreneurs, manage intellectual property, secure grants and contracts and new partnerships, provide training for our students, and much more despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19. You will find in this report a lot of data quantifying and documenting the successes of the team led by Associate Vice Chancellor Rosibel Ochoa in these areas. What is harder to quantify is their true commitment to help our community. Their dedication has been exemplary. For example, you may remember that our incubator on campus was ready to start receiving companies when the pandemic hit and, hence, we could not move some startups in. But we put the space to good use by locating in it our campus COVID-19 testing lab, helping watch for our students' health. With the lifting of occupancy restrictions, we have moved the lab to a different location and now five startup companies occupied the space in our Multidisciplinary Research Building. Another example of OTP commitment to the community is the large number of small businesses counseled through the EPIC SBDC in times of great need.
A recent study conducted for the UC Office of the President showed that UCR generates more than 20,000 jobs and $2.3B in economic output in the Inland Empire (IE) alone. But we are convinced that we can do much more than that. Through our Opportunities to Advance Sustainability, Innovation, and Social Inclusion (OASIS) program, we are set to help address many of the challenges of our region and contribute to its economic development. Working with our partners in the City, the IE Counties, and the private sector, OASIS physical infrastructures and programmatic activities will have a transformative effect in the Inland Empire. We recently concluded a pre-feasibility study done by our consultants Brailsford and Dunlavey and we are taking the first steps defining our Clean Tech Park. We have received $15M from the state to help developing the park and OTP is heavily engaged securing other sources of funding for the project.