Espy and Piercy testify on RAIN proposal

On April 10, Kimberly Andrews Espy, UO vice president for research and innovation and dean of the graduate school, testified before the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development regarding the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) proposal, one of three projects included in an Oregon University System innovation package. Representatives from the other two projects, the IT Collaboratory and the Metals Initiative, joined Espy in asking the subcommittee to recommend a total of $15.5 million in funding for the combined package ($7.5 million for RAIN). The hearing came as part of the subcommittee’s consideration of the Business Oregon budget for the 2013-2015 biennium, which includes the OUS innovation package.

The RAIN proposal is the product of a collaborative Regional Solutions process and includes the partnership of Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, local governments, community colleges, and non-profit economic development organizations. RAIN would provide start-up ventures with the human resources and infrastructure they need to succeed. In addition to providing staffing resources, RAIN proposes repurposing facilities near existing university research facilities. These mixed-use facilities would combine business and programmatic space, with linkages through shared IT and community-based resources, to create one seamless ecosystem for innovation. Espy was joined in her testimony by OSU’s Executive Associate Vice President for Research Ron Adams. More information on the proposal is contained in OSU and UO’s joint written testimony.

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, who along with Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning has been named a co-convener for the Regional Solutions project, appeared before a field hearing of the Full Ways and Means Committee on April 10 to speak about the RAIN proposal. The City of Eugene has joined many other partners in championing the effort at the Oregon Legislature.