Coinciding with the long-term university vision, Rice has a rich history of innovation and technology transfer with a focus on transformational research, engagement with the Houston business community, and encouraging entrepreneurial activities of facility, staff, and students. Rice has an extensive portfolio of patented technologies in numerous fields, including the development of biobased products and processes, and has leveraged this portfolio into established success in licensing these technologies. This places Rice in a unique position to have significant impact on our economy, society, and environment.
Rice has numerous outlets to enable rapid transition from basic research and development to effective platforms for discovery and production, and ultimately, commercial deployment, including:
The Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) at Rice University assists the faculty, staff, and students in commercializing technology created and developed at Rice. This is facilitated by fostering relationships with industry that bring Rice technologies to successful commercialization. In doing so, the OTT strives to contribute to the public good, further economic development in Houston and Texas, and enhance the reputation of Rice University while maintaining a fiduciary responsibility to the university and its faculty, staff, and student body.
The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship is Rice University’s nationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of technology commercialization, entrepreneurship education, and the launch of technology companies. A strategic alliance between the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business in collaboration with the Vice Provost and the Office of Research, the Rice Alliance is a catalyst for building successful ventures through education, guidance and connections. Its mission is to support the creation of technology-based companies and the commercialization of new technologies in the Houston community and Southwest.
Founded in 2013, OwlSpark was created to ignite a passion for entrepreneurship within the Rice community. The OwlSpark program allows Rice students, faculty, staff and recent alumni to launch companies based on their innovative business ideas.
The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program has designated Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M University as the Southwest Alliance for Entrepreneurial Innovation Node, charged with empowering teams of university scientists and industry experts to develop life-changing products. The node offers potential partnerships with 33 institutions in the southwest region representing more than $600 million of NSF funding in fields such as bioscience, K-12 education, materials energy research, geosciences, engineering, psychology, oil and gas, water filtration and entrepreneurism. The I-Corps program encourages scientists and engineers to consider how their federally funded, fundamental research projects may become commercial ventures.
Furthermore, the Houston area has a number of technology incubators and accelerators that assist in advancing the commercialization of emerging technology companies:
The Houston Technology Center (HTC) is the largest technology business incubator and accelerator in Texas, advancing the commercialization of emerging technology companies in the greater Houston area. HTC serves as the nexus of new ideas, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship. Each day, the staff and partners of the Houston Technology Center work closely with entrepreneurs and startup companies providing them with in-depth strategic and tactical business guidance, fundraising advice, and connecting them to opportunities, allies, and capital.
The Texas Medical Center accelerator (TMCx) couples the resources of the world’s largest medical center with the innovative spark of entrepreneurs to facilitate the development of early-stage digital health and medical device companies.
JLABS, part of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, LLC, is a network of incubators providing emerging companies with many of the advantages of being in a big company without the capital investment. Residents have access to turnkey, state-of-the-art infrastructure, including singular bench tops, modular wet lab units and office space on a short-term basis.