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Grant to help develop sustainable agricultural businesses, provide innovative technologies

September 13, 2012

UC Davis is one of six recipients nationwide, and the only one in California, to receive a $1 million award in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration's 2012 i6 Challenge Grant competition. The university will use the grant to establish the Clean AgTech Innovation Center.

Reps. Doris Matsui and Mike Thompson, whose districts take in parts of UC Davis, announced the grant today (Sept. 13).

“UC Davis is one of the top research universities in the nation, and I am pleased that this federal grant will help them develop their Clean AgTech Innovation Center,” said Matsui, D-Sacramento. “Once established, this center will have a profound impact on the region and the nation; linking our agriculture industry to innovative and new technologies that will sustain our nation’s food supply, while fueling job creation and economic growth on farms and in rural communities across America.”

The center, administered by the UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, represents a creative collaboration with the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance, the region's leading nonprofit organization devoted to entrepreneurship and commercialization of new technologies.

Added Thompson, D-St. Helena: “Agriculture is the economic backbone of so many of our communities in Northern California. This new innovation center, housed at one of California’s top research universities, will allow our farmers and ranchers to grow their businesses through the development of new technologies. And when farmers and ranchers grow their businesses, this grows our entire agriculture economy and creates new jobs.”

The Clean AgTech Innovation Center will provide valuable resources that focus on accelerating entrepreneurial thinking among researchers and businesses in the agricultural field, and develop a network of experts to support entrepreneurs and new ventures. In addition, the center will create an AgEntrepreneurship Academy, which will help agriculture entrepreneurs identify market needs and opportunities, and create agriculture “food chain” clusters of innovation.

“This is tremendous news,” Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said. “UC Davis is the leading university for research at the interface of agriculture, clean technology and sustainability, and this grant will further our efforts to turn this research into jobs and economic development for our region.”

Katehi thanked Matsui and Thompson for their support, which included letters earlier this year to the Economic Development Administration.

The i6 Challenge Grant is a multiagency initiative to support the creation of centers for innovation and entrepreneurship. It is designed to encourage and reward innovative, groundbreaking ideas that accelerate technology commercialization, new venture formation, job creation and economic growth across the United States.

"Universities are the world's greatest catalysts for innovation and entrepreneurship," said Steven C. Currall, dean and professor of the Graduate School of Management and principal investigator on the grant. "UC Davis is a global leader in agricultural and food innovations, and we aim to ensure that consumers benefit from those innovations through the Clean AgTech Innovation Center."

"This center will further strengthen the institute's role in reinforcing the Sacramento region, and California's Central Valley, as the 'Silicon Valley of agriculture and food,'" said Andrew Hargadon, professor at the Graduate School of Management, director of the UC Davis' Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and co-author of the grant.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

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