New Regional Partnership to Spur Economic Growth in Valley

UC Merced partners with Central Valley Business Incubator, Merced County, Fresno State
and Small Business Development Center in state-approved Innovation Hub

Quick Facts
  • The state announced the designation of three new Innovation Hub (iHub) projects, including the Central San Joaquin Valley iHub.
  • The Central Valley Business Incubator and Merced County Department of Commerce, Aviation and Economic Development are the iHub's lead agencies, with UC Merced, Fresno State and the Small Business Development Center as partners.
  • UC Merced will lend expertise in technology transfer and intellectual property management to the iHub, while its faculty and students will receive assistance in starting up their own businesses.

MERCED — The University of California, Merced, is partnering with regional nonprofit and government agencies in a multifaceted project aimed at stimulating economic development and job creation through research and innovation.

The Central San Joaquin Valley Innovation Hub (iHub), in which UC Merced is a partner, has received the state's new iHubdesignation, the Governor's Office of Economic Development has announced.

The Central Valley Business Incubatorand Merced County Department of Commerce, Aviation and Economic Developmentare the lead agencies in the Central San Joaquin Valley iHub — one of 12 total projects to have now received the state's designation — with UC Merced, California State University, Fresno, and the Small Business Development Center as partners.

The iHub designation is designed to encourage regional collaboration between research institutions, start-up technology companies, local governments, venture capitalists and economic development organizations. These organizations will leverage their various resources with the common goal of creating jobs and harnessing the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of the state.

"UC Merced is proud to be a part of such an important project and thrilled that this proposal has received the state's iHub designation," Chancellor Steve Kang said. "The iHub represents an ideal opportunity to combine our campus' strengths in scientific innovation and entrepreneurialism with the resources provided by our partners in the region to help improve the economic landscape of the San Joaquin Valley."

UC Merced's presence in the iHub partnership will be critical in a number of ways. The campus supports the creation of start-up companies founded on new technology, an important and viable path to product commercialization and local economic development and job creation. And the University of California will share with iHub management its expertise in intellectual property management and technology transfer to help grow the local economy.

A number of UC Merced programs are likely to benefit greatly from the iHub's establishment, collaborating directly with the iHub on the commercialization of new green and renewable energy technologies and the creation of new companies and entrepreneurs. Examples include the University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar), UC Merced Energy Research Institute (UCMERI), Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) and UC Merced Center for Entrepreneurship

The Central San Joaquin Valley iHub will focus on supporting businesses in water, energy and agricultural technology throughout the start-up phase to enhance local technology-based economic development and create jobs and wealth in the region. It's also expected that as progress continues toward a UC Merced medical school, the iHub will become a fundamental platform for further innovation and commercialization of healthcare technologies.

"Our faculty and students continue to work tirelessly to combat some of the most significant challenges of our time," Kang said. "The iHub will help ensure they have the support they need as they make the transition from researchers and innovators into entrepreneurs and successful business owners."

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James Leonard

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