UC Davis to enhance campus innovation and entrepreneurship with $2.2 million from State Innovation & Entrepreneurship Expansion Bill, AB 2664


UC Davis-HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center is one of several business incubators to foster regional innovation.

UC Davis announced today its receipt of $2.2 million in one-time funding from Assembly Bill 2664, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expansion bill authored by Assembly member Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, and signed last fall by Governor Jerry Brown. AB 2664 is designed to propel new innovation and entrepreneurship efforts across the University of California through investments in infrastructure, incubators and entrepreneurship education programs. Each of UC’s 10 campuses will receive $2.2 million in one-time funding through this legislative initiative.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are central to all that we do,” said Ralph Hexter, interim chancellor of UC Davis. “I am excited by this support from the Governor and Legislature that will enable us to launch new programs and expand university infrastructure with the potential to transformatively impact the California economy.”

UC Davis plans to expand its economic engagement activities and collaborations with community stakeholders to enhance the local and regional ecosystem that support innovation and entrepreneurship. With a focus on synergies between the overlapping strengths of the university, region and state, key areas of UC Davis’ AB 2664 program focus include:

  • Expansion of proof-of-concept grant programs to demonstrate commercial feasibility for university technology and boost innovation across a wide range of disciplines
  • Business training and mentorship programs focused on building workforce skills and practical experience in business, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization and startup development
  • Incubator and accelerator programs that provide work and lab space, research and development equipment and instrumentation, and support resources for entrepreneurs.

“AB 2664 funding is important because it allows us to amplify, expand and sustain the success of our uniquely collaborative programs at UC Davis, which enable campus innovators and the entrepreneurial community to interact effectively for regional economic impact,” said Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor for research, and executive director of Venture Catalyst at UC Davis.

“Bolstered by this forward-looking legislative initiative, we can expect to strengthen our partnerships with community stakeholders, enlarge our network of incubator facilities, enhance our entrepreneurial training programs and workshops, and expand resources within the regional innovation and startup ecosystem so as to support broader regional economic development initiatives,” Pathak said.

Managed within the UC Davis Office of Research, program implementation will be driven by the strong collaborative relationship between UC Davis Venture Catalyst and the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

The state’s investment will be allocated to support new and expanded activities and programs that will provide direct benefit to campus innovators and entrepreneurs across all disciplines, schools and colleges, as well as to local entrepreneurs whose research can be expected to result in regional economic impact.

Funded programs will be aligned with One Health and Engineering synergies being realized at UC Davis, thereby creating opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs in disciplines encompassing human health, agriculture, animal health and engineering. Fund allocation will also be extended to existing programs specifically serving the undergraduate community, graduate students and postdoctoral trainees.

Aijun Wang and team

Aijun Wang received the STAIR Grant in 2015. This is one of many programs that will be expanded.

The integration of underrepresented populations in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is an important point of emphasis in the delivery of these new and expanded programs. Two notable initiatives are being launched: A novel partnership with UC Merced to create and implement a Central Valley Entrepreneurship Academy focused on regional needs that support the development of an adaptable and innovative workforce in this economically-challenged area; and the development of an annual STEM symposium at UC Davis to showcase successful innovators and entrepreneurs who can serve as instructors, role models, and mentors for women and underrepresented minorities.

“By expanding our innovation and entrepreneurship infrastructure and support programs, UC Davis has the opportunity to effectively translate the almost $800 million of annual research funding it receives into accelerated regional and statewide economic growth through talent development, workforce preparation, technology commercialization and start-up formation,” said Pathak.

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