Rhode Island Begins Process to Develop New Innovation Campus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (RICC), in partnership with the University of Rhode Island (URI), will soon begin requesting proposals from industry, academic and research partners to develop, program and occupy a transformative Innovation Campus. Beginning in spring 2017, potential partners will be invited to submit initial responses, with a request for proposals to follow from the RICC in summer 2017.

Startup TechWire 2017 Sponsorships Now AvailableThe Commerce Corporation envisions successful applicants being partnerships of private industry and universities in addition to URI. Development partners will be required to meet or exceed the state's investment from bond proceeds. Respondents will be offered access to technical assistance workshops to guide concept development. It's expected that a development partner(s) will be selected by early 2018.

"This project is about Rhode Island's future," says Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "Investing in strong university-industry partnerships will help existing work already happening in Rhode Island turn into jobs for Rhode Islanders."

"We're looking forward to working with applicants to draw upon Rhode Island's strengths and find some truly transformational ideas for our economy," says Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island's Secretary of Commerce.

According to research conducted by the Brookings Institution in the Rhode Island Innovates report, Rhode Island is a leading state for university research. Rhode Island institutions conduct over $320 million in research each year, and the 30 percent growth in Rhode Island's research activity has been nearly double the national rate of 16 percent.

In November 2016, Rhode Island voters approved a $20 million bond issue to create an Innovation Campus affiliated with URI that will work to bridge the gap between the world-class research occurring at Rhode Island's universities and the opportunity for new startups and job creation that will come with turning that research into commercial activity.

As the state of Rhode Island's public research university and a critical partner in economic development and growth, URI offers 80 undergraduate and 70 graduate programs, including leading programs in engineering, health, business, oceanography and pharmaceutical sciences. URI will work closely with the RICC throughout the solicitation process and will collaborate with the designated partner/team to develop and program the Innovation Campus.

"The Innovation Campus will allow the University to partner with businesses to help solve real challenges, to provide educational opportunities for its students and to innovate products and services," stated Dr. David M. Dooley, President of URI.  "As the state's public research institution the University can deploy its researchers, faculty and students to partner with other higher education institutions and businesses creating a true hub of innovation in Rhode Island."

The Innovation Campus is modeled in part by precedents of academic-industry collaboration at a number of facilities across the country, including Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, Pennovation Works and The Bridge at Cornell Tech.

Updates on the competition can be followed at www.commerceri.com/ri-innovation-campus.

Startup TechWire | Reporting on business, innovation, and education for America's vibrant startup community | David Menzies | 919-274-6862 | Writer and Public Relations Consultant | Editor StartupTechWire.com | startuptechwire@gmail.com