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The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) was established in 2006 through the leadership and vision of the Utah Legislature and the Governor to leverage science and technology innovation in support of Utah’s economy. The initial focus of USTAR was recruiting world-class faculty to the state’s research universities, the University of Utah (U of U) and Utah State University (USU). The recruitments expanded expertise in the areas of life science, renewable and traditional energy, nano and microelectronics and big data. USTAR invested significantly in unique shared facilities, such as a nanofabrication facility, the only bio hazard 3+ facility in the state and a life science incubator. In addition to expanding the capacity at the research universities, USTAR established a statewide Technology Outreach Program that focuses on technology development, mentoring and collaboration to strengthen the technology ecosystem in the state.

USTAR Vision: Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy, and be recognized as a premier global destination*.

USTAR Mission: Create a technology ecosystem that enables ideas to seed, grow, and thrive. USTAR’s diverse portfolio of investments will:

Recruit and retain top researchers to the State’s research universities
Support tech entrepreneurs through training, funding, incubator and accelerator programs
Broker technology transfer by connecting capital, management and industry

*Adapted from Governor Herbert’s vision for the state’s economy


USTAR-funded researchers have proven adept at capturing millions of dollars in federal and private research funding and building world-class research teams including undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students. To form new ventures based on their respective technologies, researchers work with their University commercialization offices to transfer these technologies to industry or as the foundation of new companies. 


U of U building video

Video of U of U building

The U of U’s James L Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building is the centerpiece of a visionary plan to accelerate research, development and commercialization at the interface of medicine, nanotechnology, engineering, pharmacology and digital media. It includes a state-of-the-art nanofabrication facility with cleanroom space, a bio-bay and a microscopy and materials characterization suite. These facilities are available to university researchers and can also be used on a fee for service basis by commercial partners. 

USU building video

Video of USU building

USU’s BioInnovations Center houses highly advanced life-sciences laboratories and provides lab space in support of synthetic bio-manufacturing, advanced human nutrition, veterinary diagnostics and infectious disease and other innovation areas. The state-of-the-art facility also houses a Bio Safety Level 3+ lab. USU has also added a Biomanufacuting facility to enable industrial scale production of synthetic biology products. Both are positioned for industry collaboration.



The Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) Initiative supports an ecosystem where world-class researchers and innovators can access state-of-the-art research and development facilities at Utah’s leading educational institutions. These multidisciplinary facilities provide the equipment and human capital they need to create products and services, collaborate with industry, and develop and commercialize new technologies.

The USTAR Outreach team is designed as a resource to assist innovators and entrepreneurs, connecting them with resources across the state that offer incubation, acceleration, and other training or services that they need to flourish as a new business. They also connect them with investors across the state, helping maximize business potential.

USTAR is a catalyst for creating new and advanced technology and science companies, bolstering the economy and keeping the state vibrant and competitive.

Outreach offices are located across the state: Ogden, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Orem and St. George.  

USTAR TECHNOLOGY INCUBATORS focus on speeding up the growth and success of startup and early stage companies by providing space and core equipment to support tech startups. Incubation time varies for each company.

SBIR-STTR ASSISTANCE CENTER assists entrepreneurs and startup companies in preparing and submitting SBIR-STTR applications. The SBIR and STTR programs offer more than $2.5 billion dollars in federal funding annually to support the development of technology by small businesses across the nation. USTAR’s SBIR-STTR Assistance Center helps technology oriented businesses with new discoveries or innovative concepts get the funding they need to continue their path towards commercialization.

BIOINNOVATIONS GATEWAY (BiG) is a life science incubator for emerging biotech and medical device companies, a high-tech training facility for the next generation of bio-innovators, and a contract research resource for Utah’s life science industry. BiG’s grand opening was held in Salt Lake City Oct. 27, 2009 as a collaborative effort between Granite School District and USTAR.BiG supports up to 16 resident companies, providing access to state-of-the-art biotech, biomanufacturing, and engineering design and prototyping equipment. The retrofitted facility represents 25,000 square feet of space. Wet and dry labs, a clean room, offices, and meeting space are the main components.

TECHNOLOGY ACCELERATION PROGRAM (TAP) provides funding to Utah-based science and technology start-ups and early stage companies and is managed by the Utah Science Technology and Research agency (USTAR). The purpose of TAP is to accelerate science and technology companies to market entry, or to mature a new technology within an existing company. This work can include, but is not limited to R&D, proof of concept, product validation, and product development. 

USTAR also works closely with other state agencies and partners to provide OTHER SERVICES to augment their mission where possible, thus allowing USTAR to fulfill its mission of building Utah’s technology economy and contributing to the economic development of the State.

For additional information about the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative, visit or contact Ivy Estabrooke, Ph.D., Executive Director, at or (801) 538-8622.