Strengthening economic development through partnership was a core theme at UNLV throughout 2015. The collaborations represent a win-win for the university and companies by showcasing the expertise of UNLV students/faculty; creating opportunities to bring innovative products, ideas or solutions to industry; and forming relationships between eligible interns/employees and their future employers.
Here is a sampling of some of UNLV's most prominent economic development stories of 2015:
UNLV's Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL) partnered with Local Motors to create a research and development program that will drive new technology in the field of autonomous — or self-driving — systems for cars. Local Motors delivered its 3D-printed vehicle to UNLV in August. The DASL team, headed by engineering professor and renowned robots and autonomous systems expert Paul Oh, plans to equip the first vehicle with autonomy sensory equipment that will allow its humanoid robot, Metal Rebel, to drive the vehicle. Local Motors will outfit the UNLV DASL team with iterations of its highway-ready 3D-printed car throughout 2016.
UNLV and Tesla Motors joined forces in October on a research partnership that will draw on the expertise of university faculty to pursue advanced topics in battery manufacturing. The initial phase of the five-year agreement between Tesla and the university includes two projects led by UNLV engineers and scientists to enhance manufacturing processes. A team of UNLV engineering researchers will focus on water recycling and treatment, and a separate team of chemists will work to improve recycling of metals from lithium ion batteries. The collaboration, which could total $1 million in funded projects over its course, provides opportunities for additional research as the partnership evolves.
Back in 2014, tech industry leaders Switch and Intel pledged to work with UNLV to bring one of the world's most powerful supercomputers to Las Vegas. The Intel "Cherry Creek" supercomputer — which ranks among the world's fastest and most powerful supercomputers for its combination of speed, power, and energy efficiency — cut down calculation time on complicated analyses from years to days, advancing fields such as genomics and bioinformatics, medical and climate research, molecular modeling, and data analytics. Housed in Switch's Las Vegas SUPERNAP data center and available to UNLV researchers through SUPERNAP's unique connectivity network, "Cherry Creek" received upgrades in 2015, giving UNLV and its research partners access to world-class computing power and acting as a catalyst for scientific discovery, the modernization of applications, and regional economic development efforts.
- Las Vegas Sun
- Las Vegas Sun, Data Center Knowledge, Supernap.com and Datacenter Dynamics (SUPERNAP expansion)
Nearly two years after launching the UNLV's Center for Gaming Innovation, program chief Mark Yoseloff’s students are seeing their game inventions on casino floors. By the end of 2015, students had filed applications for 25 gaming patents — doubling the applications from the first year — and a dozen new gaming products were in or on their way to the field, and three companies had been founded.
Partnership to End Alzheimer's
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and UNLV were awarded an $11.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to fund a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). The five-year award marks the first-ever COBRE grant in Southern Nevada and will fund resources and research related to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
- Las Vegas Review-Journal and Las Vegas Sun (New partnership)
- Las Vegas Review-Journal (Need for additional research funding)
2016 Economic Outlook
UNLV's Center for Business and Economic Research and Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies, in collaboration with Global Market Advisors, forecast an optimistic economic outlook for Southern Nevada and the rest of the nation during 2016. Researchers' mid-December presentation at The M Resort in Henderson focused on tourism and gaming, employment, construction and housing, and the potential for economic growth.