The Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) seeks to generate more technology-based start-up firms and higher paying jobs, leading to a statewide expansion of the Utah’s tax base. USTAR is comprised of three program areas – Research Teams, Research Building Projects, and regional Technology Outreach.
The strategy is to attract catalyst-type research faculty from outside the state with a reputation for innovation and commercialization. In effect, USTAR seeks to bring “rainmakers” to the state’s two public research universities to work with our existing experts on bigger and more challenging efforts.
At the heart of USTAR’s efforts to transform the state’s economy are the James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building–a USTAR Innovation Center at the U of U and its sister facility–the USTAR BioInnovations Center at USU.
The 110,000-square-foot USU USTAR BioInnovations building houses a Biosafety Level 3+ laboratory to perform advanced research in veterinary diseases, applied nutrition and synthetic biomanufacturing. No other building in the State has that level of biosafety capability, and few in the Intermountain West match it. The building was awarded LEED Gold certification for sustainable design in October 2011.
The 208,000-square-foot Sorenson building is the home of the Nano Institute as well as neuroscience research in three areas: next generation neural interfaces, diagnostic neuroimaging and circuits of the brain. The centerpiece of the building are the core facilities including the nanofabrication facility with 18,000 square feet of cleanroom space, biobay, and a 5,300-square-foot microscopy and materials characterization suite, all of which put the U of U on even footing with the top nanotechnology research institutes worldwide. It was awarded LEED Gold certification in September 2013.
Technology Outreach Program
USTAR’s Technology Outreach Innovation Program (TOIP) is the engine to drive commercialization activities. TOIP’s mission is to support the accomplishment of USTAR’s financial, employment, and research objectives by lending experienced leadership, deep business understanding, and functional expertise to the most promising opportunities and focus areas. This includes working with entrepreneurs, emerging and established businesses, academic researchers, and other innovation economy stakeholders.