Register-Guard links UO to flourishing innovation in Lane County

The Register-Guard’s special edition Blue Chip business magazine recently featured several articles in its “Innovation Issue” that linked the University of Oregon with opportunity and innovation in Eugene.

Already an area with a rich history of research and product innovation, change can be seen at a local level in Lane County. The article, “Fertile land for ideas to grow,” reports that business professionals in the Eugene area have noticed efforts beginning to pay off. With an increase in the number of patents filed by the UO, the average number of patents filed from the Eugene-Springfield area has risen 35 percent, from 44 per year during the late 1990s to 59 per year from 2000 to 2011.

The UO, along with Lane Community College (LCC), has been a major factor in increasing awareness and providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to thrive in Eugene. The Register-Guard identifies a number of UO’s contributions in the article, “UO, LCC helping entrepreneurs take the next step,” including the Lokey Labs, home to a high-tech extension service for the state known as the Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon, and a gene sequencing lab, as well as several programs in the Lundquist College of Business.

The statewide effort to advance entrepreneurs and startup companies has facilitated collaboration between the Oregon government and the state’s four research universities, including the UO, to form a group known as the Oregon Innovation Council. The goal of partnership is to support university research that can be brought to the marketplace to create companies and jobs. The article, “Research centers work to turn ideas into companies,” highlights the three resulting research centers in Oregon: the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center, and Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute.

Another state-funded network, the fledgling Regional Accelerator and Investment Network, based in both Eugene and Corvallis, is expected to contribute to further economic growth and Oregon innovation.

Previously, individuals with ideas had no idea where to start, but according to LCC professor Frank Plaisted, regional incubators and programs developed through LCC and the UO have now provided significant opportunities to advance those ideas into reality.

 by Chloe Huckins, Public Affairs Communications intern