UC Davis receives $2.2 million from Assembly Bill 2664

NATALIE SKLOVSKAYA / AGGIE

Funding to expand innovation, entrepreneurship infrastructure

UC Davis received $2.2 million in state funding last month from Assembly Bill 2664. AB 2664, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expansion Bill, was designed to propel new innovation and entrepreneurship efforts across the University of California (UC) system through investments in infrastructure, incubators and entrepreneurship education programs. Each of the 10 UC campuses received $2.2 million in one-time funding. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-44) and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in the fall of 2016.

“The UC system is the gold standard for research and innovation,” Irwin stated in a press release from the UC Office of the President. “The bill’s funding will help convert UC research into products that benefit society. It will lead to startup businesses and local economic growth.”

The state’s investments will support programs that benefit campus innovators and entrepreneurs as well as local entrepreneurs.

Each campus will execute long-term plans suited to the strengths and needs of that campus’ local context.

According to a statement on UC Davis Dateline, UC Davis’ AB 2664 program focuses on three areas. The first is expansion of grant programs that will demonstrate commercial feasibility for technology developed at the university. The second area of expansion is business training and mentorship programs to build professional skills and practical experience pertaining to business and entrepreneurship. The final area is creating programs that will provide work and lab space, research and development equipment and support resources to entrepreneurs.

“AB 2664 funding is important because it allows us to amplify, expand and sustain the success of our uniquely collaborative programs at UC Davis, which enable campus innovators and the entrepreneurial community to interact effectively for regional impact,” said Dushyant Pathak, the associate vice chancellor of the Office of Research to UC Davis Dateline.

The program implementation will be managed by the UC Davis Office of Research, along with UC Davis’ Venture Catalyst and the Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

Cleveland Justice, the executive director for the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, believes the university will be able continue to support and substantially grow the commercialization of important research from UC Davis and the surrounding region.

“At UC Davis we have strengths in so many areas of important need — food, agriculture, life sciences, engineering, medicine — and this funding will help our world-class researchers take their ideas out of the lab and into the world,” Justice said via email. “With this funding we’ll greatly expand our work with undergraduate entrepreneurs, build out new areas of support for entrepreneurs throughout the Central Valley and we’ll further connect partners on campus and with other universities in the region.”

Research is a significant aspect of UC Davis’ reputation. The campus attracts many students who want to conduct hands-on research in order to gain better knowledge and understanding of their fields. One such student is Stegi Ilanthiraian, a third-year microbiology major.

“I am a pre-med and I really wanted to understand research and its role in medicine,” Ilanthiraian said. “Davis is a research based school. There are so many resources and opportunities for undergrads because of the amount of professors who do research.”

AB 2664-funded programs will create opportunities in fields such as human health, agriculture, animal health and engineering. Funds will also be allocated to existing programs serving postdoctoral trainees, graduate students and the undergraduate community, according to UC Davis Dateline.

“I find it important that we support research because it answers questions and opens new possibilities for cures or treatments,” Ilanthiraian said. “Research and the information it uncovers makes everything possible.”
Written by: Jayashri Padmanabhan — campus@theaggie.org