$3.75 million grant awarded to Texas A&M, UT and Rice to form NSF node

idea to commercialization

Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin and Rice University have received a three-year, $3.75 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to become a regional innovation hub that translates academic research into useful technologies with commercial applications.

The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program has designated three Texas tier-one research universities as the Southwest Alliance for Entrepreneurial Innovation Node, charged with empowering teams of university scientists and industry experts to develop life-changing products. NSF supports all fields of fundamental science and engineering, as well as research into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The I-Corps program encourages scientists and engineers to consider how their federally funded, fundamental research projects may become commercial ventures.

“The I-Corps program is no doubt one of the nation’s signature programs for promoting entrepreneurship and startup creation, and we are, of course, honored by the designation,” said Juan Sanchez, vice president for research at UT Austin, which is the lead partner in the node. “Having an I-Corps Node established in Texas represents a unique opportunity for researchers and institutions across the state and region to leverage existing research efforts into new business initiatives that will benefit society at large.”

The node offers potential partnerships with 33 institutions in the southwest region representing more than $600 million of NSF funding in fields such as bioscience, K-12 education, materials energy research, geosciences, engineering, psychology, oil and gas, water filtration and entrepreneurism.

“NSF looks for broader impacts, so involving schools in our system and region is a way to broaden and advance the I-Corps initiative,” said Richard Lester, executive director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. “One of our far-reaching goals is to teach this process to other universities in the region.”

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