UNLV Business, Engineering Faculty Awarded $255,000 Grant to Enhance Commercialization Efforts

Jan. 14, 2016

An interdisciplinary team of UNLV business and engineering faculty have received a three-year, $255,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop the “UNLV Lean Entrepreneurship Advancement Program” (LEAP) with the goal of further enhancing commercialization efforts at UNLV.

The grant, titled “I-Corps Sites: UNLV Lean Entrepreneurship Advancement Program,” will create an Innovation Corps Site on campus, which will nurture and support multiple local teams to transition their technology concepts into the marketplace. The I-Corp site will provide infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training, and modest funding to help these groups commercialize their ideas and discoveries.

Andrew Hardin, the associate dean for research in the Lee Business School, will serve as lead principal investigator (PI), and engineering faculty members Brendan O’Toole and Pushkin Kachroo will serve as co-PIs.  The project will be housed in the UNLV Center for Entrepreneurship and the Mendenhall Innovation Program in the Lee Business School, and it will involve the Division of Research and Economic Development and the Nevada Small Business Development Center.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our campus and for the business community,” Hardin said. “This funding will enable us to provide teams up to $3,000 each for prototype refinement and customer development.”

He added that all teams should consist of an entrepreneurial lead, who will be a student, post doc, or staff member; an academic lead, who will be a faculty member able to act as PI on future proposals or submissions to NSF; and an experienced mentor with industry-relevant experience.

“We are delighted that Andrew and his team have received this grant, as it will support many institutional efforts to enhance commercialization of university discoveries,” said Tom Piechota, Vice President of Research and Economic Development.

“This grant provides funding and support for the unified efforts of the Lee Business School, the Office of Economic Development, and the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering to promote UNLV commercialization opportunities and to increase engagement with the community,” said Zachary Miles, Associate Vice President for Economic Development.

Students and faculty with discoveries will be encouraged to apply to the program, and a committee of UNLV faculty and staff, along with business community members, will choose the most promising teams for funding.

Application materials for the program will be available in April. “Lean LaunchPad” training will be provided through a number of initiatives, including workshops and courses offered in the Lee Business School.

For additional information about the program, please contact Andrew Hardin (andrew.hardin@unlv.edu), Brendan O’Toole (brendan.otoole@unlv.edu), or Pushkin Kachroo (pushkin.kachroo@gmail.com). Additional information on the award is available in the award abstract