University Economic Development Association


Propelling a University-Driven Innovation Ecosystem

Award Category: Place + Innovation
Project Site: UNR – Research & Innovation
Submitted By: University of Nevada, Reno
Contact: Mridul Gautam , 775.327.2363


The University of Nevada, Reno (University) is a cornerstone of the dramatic economic turnaround happening in Nevada. The University’s Innovation Ecosystem is uniquely facilitating commercialization, entrepreneurialism, regional collaboration and faculty competitiveness by anchoring to The Innevation Center, located in downtown Reno, and the Nevada Center for Applied Research (NCAR), located on campus. The Innevation Center is spurring ideation, commercialization and entrepreneurialism, while NCAR provides access to the talent, facilities and equipment on campus, including an innovative wet-lab space for entrepreneurs.

These entities work in partnership to serve as an entry point for industry and entrepreneurs desiring to work with the University, and they facilitate connection to the University’s wide array of business-related programs, resources, facilities, equipment and talent.

The Innevation Center and NCAR are at the center of a strong, collaborative energy that has emerged in Nevada. Working closely with economic development officials at the regional and state level, their missions are supported by the Nevada Governor’s Office for Economic Development (GOED).

The University’s Innovation Ecosystem demonstrates a successful partnership between academia, government and industry. It represents a melding of practical models and ideas that can be applied in similar settings and regions. Best of all, it is achieving results and tangibly contributing to the development of Nevada’s new knowledge-intensive economy.

More than 50 companies are engaged with The Innevation Center and NCAR, including eight venture-funded startups and six faculty/student spin out companies – 75 jobs have been created with hundreds more projected as these businesses grow.