For faculty, investors and entrepreneurs, UCI Beall Applied Innovation is a partner in moving UCI knowledge and innovations toward market, where they can benefit society. For faculty members looking to protect intellectual property, access commercialization funding and resources, or build startups, BAI is their one-stop shop. For industry members seeking to engage with the university to license intellectual property, preview acquisition opportunities, or understand and explore unimagined pathways, BAI is their front door.
Under the leadership of UCI’s chief innovation officer, Errol Arkilic, BAI plays a critical role in accelerating discoveries to address societal challenges, providing entrepreneurs what they need to succeed, and promoting a powerful economy in Orange County.Its impact is widely felt – $34.1 billion in investments and returns for UCI startups, contributing $6.4 billion to the local economy.
Arkilic joined UCI in 2021, having achieved success in both the private and public entrepreneurial sectors. Here, he answers three questions about his positions at UCI and the role BAI plays on campus and in the community.
What unique opportunities do you encounter as chief innovation officer at UCI?
The breadth of research at UCI across domains is awe-inspiring, and it’s an honor to be able to assist in facilitating the transformation of knowledge and discoveries into products and services that benefit society. For instance, UCI has projects in health sciences that address neurodegenerative diseases. In climate, we support technologies that focus on resiliency and adaptation. In terms of emerging frontiers, we have programs that target connected well-being. These are just three of the domains we encounter; there are dozens more.
Given the depth of UCI’s portfolio, what are the primary impact areas that Beall Applied Innovation is focused on?
They reflect the strengths of the university, and I’ll name just three: Resiliency and Adaptation Deployment in California, or RADiCAL, is a $1 million, state-funded program that centers on sustainability. This fall, we’re going to launch a UCI NarrA.I.tive project that will support the development of AI tools with a focus on storytelling. We’re also working with several community organizations on a proposal for enhancing connected health outcomes that centers on connected well-being. These projects, a few among many, are crafted strategically to support and enrich the local economic ecosystem, with the main goal of taking ideas out of the lab and moving them into the world.
What are the best ways for local industries to leverage BAI and the rest of UCI as a resource?
There is no one best way to leverage campus resources, but BAI offers several unique opportunities for collaboration. One of our goals is to act as a bridge for accessing knowledge resources developed on campus. For instance, we know that involving industry partners in the research conceptualization phase is paramount to supporting use-inspired research as a whole and strive to do that through our development of industry-sponsored research. Another example of how we work with industry is our Proof of Product program. PoP enables industrial partners to fund research initiatives that focus on translating new knowledge into products and services that meet specific needs. I also want to highlight our Innovation Advisor network, which works through the nationally known I-Corps, in which business leaders and subject matter experts volunteer their time at UCI Beall Applied Innovation. These and other programs support BAI’s ultimate purpose: to measurably improve lives through access to UCI-developed knowledge.