On a campus already actively growing its footprint in Inland Southern California, a proposed clean technology park would lead to a reinvention of UC Riverside’s relationship with the city and region. The park is Phase I of a more ambitious research and economic development project.
The Opportunities to Advance Sustainability, Innovation, and Social Inclusion, or OASIS, is a new initiative that will leverage UCR’s expertise in greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, clean energy, intelligent transportation, agriculture, natural resources management, community health and health disparity, and many other areas of scholarly work. OASIS will also house shared facilities that convene research talents and incubator space for technology transfer and startup activities.
On June 22, the OASIS project gets its most public exposure on campus yet — an online forum in which input from the UCR community will be sought.
The proposed Phase I “clean technology park” is yet conceptual, but has already taken its first steps with a preliminary study led by the external consultants Brailsford and Dunlavey. Among other things, the consultants will help identify locations and potential funding for the project. UCR’s offices of Research and Economic Development and Government Relations have also been pursuing state and federal funding to support the project. A main goal of the program is to create skilled jobs for the Inland Empire, said Rodolfo Torres, UCR’s vice chancellor for Research and Economic Development.
Phase I of OASIS would build upon the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, decision to erect a $419 million laboratory with 400 jobs on land adjacent to the university. The CARB building is set to open in November 2021.
“The clean technology park provides a natural complement to the new world-class CARB facility, which by its nature and scope will draw leading clean energy research and researchers,” Torres said. “This is an incredible opportunity to expand UCR’s research, education, and economic development activities related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and toxic air contaminants.”
Proposed clean technology park facilities include laboratory facilities for UCR’s Center for Environmental Research & Technology, or CE-CERT, incubator space, co-working space, training facilities for UCR Extension, and facilities for companies that are suppliers/partners to CARB.
The plan would become part of a Riverside initiative launched several years ago to create innovation districts across the city between downtown and the UCR campus. In addition to the city of Riverside, partners include Riverside County and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, as well as a number of government, private, and nonprofit stakeholders in the region.