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Unlocking the potential for innovation in rural California

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Unlocking the potential for innovation in rural California

By Alec Gerry | November 17, 2016


UC ANR has for more than a century been in the business of what’s known as “technology incubation” — providing infrastructure, tools and connections to help scientists and entrepreneurs turn innovative ideas into profitable, socially beneficial enterprises. Expanding ANR’s role as an incubator in California is a top priorities of ANR. It’s also an area where the UC system and the state of California are investing more resources.

For UC ANR’s incubation efforts to have meaningful impact, we need to find our niche, and that’s likely to be in rural California. There’s currently little or no incubator-type support in most areas outside of California’s major urban centers — but there are definitely many innovative people and many market opportunities. UC ANR’s unique network and long history of partnerships across California positions us very well to lead the development of a network of incubators to serve rural California. These incubators could also serve to help commercialize some of the many innovations developed within UC ANR each year. While the division runs on less than 1% of the UC budget, in 2015 we accounted for about 4% of all UC patent filings.

Partnerships — a guiding principle  of UC ANR — are going to be critical. We don’t have the resources to build out a statewide incubation network on our own. Instead, we need to think of the division as a catalytic leader, working with like-minded partners to develop the needed infrastructure.

Read more:  ANR Innovation in Rural California

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