UCR’s Regional Economic Impact



he Inland Empire has seen immense growth in recent years and is now the 12th-largest metropolitan area in the country. As the region’s only “R1” institution — designated as having very high research activity — UCR plays a leading role in economic development and innovation, delivering an estimated economic impact of $2.3 billion in the Inland Empire. 2022 was a record-setting year for grants and contracts, exceeding the $200 million mark for research expenditures, and the university is one of the largest patent holders in the region, earning $5 to $7 million annually in royalty income. In partnership with the city of Riverside, UCR’s Opportunities to Advance Sustainability, Innovation, and Social Inclusion, or OASIS, has secured more than $60 million from the state to develop the OASIS Park — an innovation and workforce development hub — close to campus. UCR’s Palm Desert campus will also soon house an analytical training lab for the characterization of critical minerals a short distance from the Salton Sea, which holds lithium and other mineral deposits vital to development of zero-emission vehicles and clean-energy technologies. Here is a closer look at just some of the ways UCR has contributed to the growth of the region and what still lies ahead:


$240 M
of California’s production value of planted mandarins/tangerines can be attributed to the easy-peel “Tango” mandarin developed at UCR. Sold in over 50 countries, the Tango variety represented 29% of the total acreage planted in California during the 2020-2021 season. The Tango mandarin is among the top-five highest-earning inventions within the UC system and has generated more than $50 million in royalty revenue for UCR since its commercial release in 2006.

regional companies are currently part of UCR’s ExCITE incubator in downtown Riverside, which was created in partnership with the city and county and has graduated four startups. On campus, UCR’s Life Sciences Incubator hosts 10 companies in the life sciences, agricultural, biotechnology, and medical fields.

By the Numbers - UCR’s Regional Economic Impact

$1.7 M
in seed grants is being invested through the OASIS Innovation Hub to support research focusing on sustainable transportation and infrastructure; renewable energy and fuel; agriculture technology and food security; natural resource management; community health and health disparity; and human development. UCR will also deploy close to $4 million over the next three years for entrepreneurial education and expert commercialization mentorship to build a pipeline of innovative startups from within the community focused on climate technology.

small businesses and startups have been supported by UCR’s Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept and Innovation Center (UCR EPIC) and Small Business Development Center (EPIC SBDC). The center has also provided over 11,000 hours of expert mentorship, trained over 600 entrepreneurs, raised more than $70 million in capital, and created over 500 jobs.

Return to UCR Magazine: Spring 2023