An independent, nonprofit organization is now in place, with the sole mission of supporting research, discovery, innovation and commercialization at the University of Nevada, Reno. The Nevada Research and Innovation Corporation has the capability of holding equity and can expedite commercialization of research discoveries and intellectual property.
"Many of this country's most notable research universities have nonprofit corporations or foundations of this type," Ellen Purpus, the University's assistant vice president for enterprise and innovation who guided development of NVRIC, said. "It is a model that has proven to be successful for researchers and entrepreneurs, the universities and regional economies."
"The Nevada Research and Innovation Corporation will further encourage innovation, entrepreneurialism and commercialization at the University," Marc Johnson, University president, said. "It provides a mechanism to help move the discoveries and research of faculty, staff and students into the marketplace where their work will have impact."
Much of what NVRIC will do is technology transfer which, Purpus explained, is the process of ushering innovations to the commercial marketplace through business development and licensing of intellectual property. To see that intellectual property is not just left on the shelf, NVRIC will encourage companies that license intellectual property to diligently pursue the University technologies and innovations in their product development and new product introduction. To the extent possible, companies that license intellectual property will also be asked to address unmet needs of underserved populations or regions, especially with respect to new and improved therapeutics, diagnostics and agricultural technologies.
"NVRIC will create partnerships, and the success of these partnerships will benefit the researcher or entrepreneur, the continued development of the University and, ultimately, society," Mridul Gautam, the University's vice president for research and innovation, said. "It's a public good; it creates opportunity."
NVRIC will support the University's emerging innovation ecosystem that is facilitating research, faculty competitiveness, commercialization and entrepreneurialism. It will collaborate with The Innevation Center University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada Center for Applied Research, Biosciences Entrepreneurial Lab, Nevada Industry Excellence, Nevada Small Business Development Centers, and the University's colleges and many other innovation-connected services. This ecosystem partners with regional economic development efforts and organizations, including the Governor's Office for Economic Development and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
As one of its first actions, NVRIC created the Inneventure Fund, a new source of proof-of-concept investment funding to help University faculty, students and staff navigate what is sometimes called the "valley of death" for entrepreneurial ideas - the gap between concept validation and obtaining seed funding for their venture. The inaugural Inneventure Fund investments will be announced soon.
"It is wonderful to see all of this come together and tangibly contribute to the economy and betterment of Nevada," Johnson said. "It demonstrates the passion and expertise of the University community, and the collective desire to make a meaningful difference."
The Nevada Research and Innovation Corporation is guided by a volunteer (uncompensated) board of directors. For more information, visit www.nvric.org.