UTEP Receives $1.2M Grant to Help Region Bring Discoveries to the Marketplace
Last Updated on September 09, 2022 at 12:00 AM
Originally published September 09, 2022
By MC Staff
UTEP Marketing and Communications
As a member of the NSF-led National Innovation Network, the University will train researchers to align their work with the needs of industry
EL PASO, Texas (Sept. 8, 2022) – The National Science Foundation has selected The University of Texas at El Paso to join a program designed to spur regional innovation and expedite the process by which those discoveries enter the marketplace.
As a new member of the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Hubs initiative, UTEP will receive $1.2 million over 5 years to provide training that will help faculty and students determine if there is a good fit in the marketplace for the products of their research before pushing for commercialization.
“This grant is a testament of the quality of the research environment at UTEP and the hard work of colleagues across the College of Engineering,” said Kenith Meissner, Ph.D., dean of the UTEP College of Engineering. “Not only are we doing world-class research, but we also foster an entrepreneurial spirit that connects our researchers with industry needs to directly address economic and societal issues.”
UTEP’s inclusion in the I-Corps Hubs program, which was established in 2011, is part of an expansion that includes five new hubs, each comprising a regional alliance of at least eight universities. UTEP, New Mexico State University and Oklahoma State University are the newest members of the Southwest regional hub, which is led by UT Austin.
With a diverse community of faculty members, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and other innovators, the Southwest regional hub will implement standardized training programs, as well as the first curriculum delivered exclusively in Spanish, with the goal of reducing the time and risk associated with translating promising ideas and technologies from the lab to the market. It aims to support a wide variety of efforts, from the creation and implementation of new tools, resources and training activities to the analysis and evaluation of startup outcomes from participants.
Collectively, I-Corps Hubs form the operational backbone of the National Innovation Network — a coalition of universities, NSF-funded researchers, local and regional entrepreneurial communities and other federal agencies.
In addition to Meissner, the team that will implement UTEP’s I-Corps program includes Patricia Nava, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering; Thomas Boland, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering; and Aaron Cervantes, director of strategic partnerships for the College of Engineering and one of UTEP’s early proponents of the I-Corps approach.
“As an instructor in the I-Corps program, I’ve had the opportunity to teach its methodology to researchers not only at UTEP, but throughout the nation,” Cervantes said. “I have seen faculty improve the quality and the impact of their research by broadening their understanding of industry and its needs. As a researcher, being able to utilize feedback from industry and iterate in the lab to fully address those needs is priceless.”
About The University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 84% of our more than 24,000 students are Hispanic, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 169 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top-tier research university in America.