Rhode Island is embarking on a major development project to build an Innovation Campus serving the state. The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (RICC), in partnership with the University of Rhode Island (URI), will requesting RFPs from potential partners organizations this summer to develop, program and occupy the Innovation Campus.
They envision applicants being partnerships of private industry and universities in addition to URI, bringing with them enough funding to meet or exceed the state’s investment from bond proceeds. Development partners will be selected by early 2018.
“This project is about Rhode Island’s future,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Investing in strong university-industry partnerships will help existing work already happening in Rhode Island turn into jobs for Rhode Islanders.”
“We’re looking forward to working with applicants to draw upon Rhode Island’s strengths and find some truly transformational ideas for our economy,” said Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island’s Secretary of Commerce.
According to a recent Brookings Institute report, Rhode Island institutions conduct over $320 million in research annually, with a 30% growth rate that is about double the national average.
In November 2016, Rhode Island voters approved a $20 million bond issue to create the Innovation Campus. Its intent is to help commercialize the world-class research occurring at URI and other Rhode Island universities, working with industry partners to ultimately create start-ups and jobs.
URI will work closely with the RICC throughout the process. “The Innovation Campus will allow the university to partner with businesses to help solve real challenges, to provide educational opportunities for its students and to innovate products and services,” stated Dr. David M. Dooley, President of URI. “As the state’s public research institution the University can deploy its researchers, faculty and students to partner with other higher education institutions and businesses creating a true hub of innovation in Rhode Island.”