Orange County Business Journal

State Funds UCI Innovation, Research

Deirdre Newman Tuesday, February 7, 2017

University of California-Irvine’s innovation institute has received $2.2 million from the state to help speed research and innovations to market. The state investment comes from Assembly Bill 2664, written by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks and signed last fall by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The funding will underwrite a UCI Applied Innovation initiative called Bridging Innovation Gaps, and provide additional support for three other efforts:

  • the BioENGINE program, which promotes biomedical engineering entrepreneurship by helping graduate students design medical devices and take them to market;
  • proof-of-product grants, which range from $25,000 to $125,000 and are awarded to projects with “great” potential in the early stages of development;
  • and grant applications, specifically for federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer funding.

The state investment, which will be spread over three years, will be complemented with dollar-for-dollar matches from industry and entrepreneurs, bringing the total amount to $4.4 million, a university spokesman said.

“Orange County, and UCI in particular, represent a growing innovation hub we are keeping a close eye on,” said Tim Wilson, a partner in Artiman Ventures, a Silicon Valley fund that invests in companies with the potential to change multibillion-dollar markets. “With more support early in the product development life cycle, we anticipate even more research-based startups coming out of UCI,”

UCI received a record-breaking $395 million in research grants and contracts during fiscal 2015-16.

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