RESEARCH VALLEY – Officials announced today the formation of The Research Valley Innovation Center (RVIC) – a science and technology incubator to help early-stage ventures transition into successful businesses. The Innovation Center will grow early-stage companies through education, a service provider network and physical “incubator” space.

A unique memorandum of agreement between The Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Health Science Center and The Research Valley Partnership, Inc., establishes The Research Valley Innovation Center as a magnet for regional economic development promoting university business synergy.

Research Valley President /CEO Todd E. McDaniel remarked, “Today’s announcement brings to reality a vision established almost two years ago now – to establish a world-class science and technology incubator connected with critical Texas A&M University partners – Texas A&M’s Office of the Vice President for Research, the Texas A&M Health Science Center and the System’s Office of Technology Commercialization. I would like to thank those partners for their recognition of the value and opportunity, as well as my Board of Directors, Brazos County, the cities of Bryan and College Station, and our private sector Alliance partners for their support in making The Research Valley Innovation Center a reality.”

Lancaster to lead Innovation Center

Officials also introduced the RVIC’s first general manager, James Y. Lancaster. With an extensive background advising entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, Lancaster has successfully co-founded three technology companies and serves as a board member or advisor to numerous other start-up businesses.

“When approached with the news that the area was preparing to launch a science and technology incubator, it spurred me to look into the entrepreneurial activity at the university and in the community. Though I visited the area often, I was surprised and excited to see how much energy and enthusiasm was going into innovative science and technology research with the goal of creating new companies. That’s something I wanted to be a part of, and will create the RVIC to support those efforts,” Lancaster said.

Lancaster most recently served as CEO of TotalChart with previous posts including Senior Vice President with Avvantica, Vice President of Intelliun, CEO of seventhVIEW and Senior Manager with Deloitte Consulting. He currently serves on the board of directors of Avalion Consulting, Timetag and the non-profit Wednesday’s Child Benefit Corporation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

McDaniel thinks Lancaster’s experience is an asset.

“Starting The Research Valley Innovation Center is a lot like starting a new business. James’ 18 years of experience in the technology industry combined with his keen understanding of product innovation and launch made him the ideal candidate to lead The Research Valley Innovation Center,” McDaniel said. “We have great confidence in James’ entrepreneurial instincts, his proven ability to launch and mentor early stage technology companies, and know firsthand his connectivity as a former student to the Aggie business leader network. James will do a great job.”

University – Business Synergy will give Start-Ups Competitive Edge

The spirit of collaboration between The Research Valley Partnership and A&M System parties may be one of the greatest strengths of the Innovation Center.

Dr. David S. Carlson, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, believes the RVIC will enhance job creation in the area of biomedical research and development.

“Texas A&M Health Science Center research initiatives make scientific discoveries and generate significant contributions toward fighting disease and improving the health of people in Texas and throughout the world. Once our scientists and researchers make these important breakthroughs, it is critical the discoveries be brought to the public sector for further development, testing and eventual application to improve people’s lives,” Carlson said.

“Our newly created partnership with The Research Valley Innovation Center will create greater opportunities and enhance our ability to attract world-renowned scientists who will contribute to the growth of the economic and technological base of The Research Valley through support for new companies and job creation in the area of biomedical research and development. I look forward to working closely with James Lancaster through The Research Valley Innovation Center.”

Additional benefits were sited by Dr. James A. Calvin, Interim Vice President for Research for Texas A&M University.

“We are pleased to be a partner in this new Research Valley Innovation Center. The goals of the center are an ideal fit for the Texas A&M community from prospective students to our most experienced researchers. The collaborations between the university and the center will continue to strengthen our commitment to moving research discoveries from the campus to the marketplace,” Calvin said.

Business Incubation and Accelerator Services

Providing low cost physical space to incubate and accelerate early-stage companies encourages a “grow your own” economic development strategy. Dr. Guy K. Diedrich, Vice Chancellor for Technology Commercialization for the Texas A&M System believes the RVIC will allow companies to transition into the marketplace more successfully.

“The new Research Valley Innovation Center will greatly enhance the efforts of the Office of Technology Commercialization as we work to bring innovations to the marketplace,” said Diedrich. “Public-private partnerships will continue to be a focus of our efforts, with the new Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine as a great example of how collaboration is vital to the process of research and development. With James Lancaster’s extensive background in entrepreneurship, he is an ideal choice to head up this important new center. We look forward to a productive association with him.”

Opportunity for The Research Valley Innovation Center is Now

Lancaster is ready to champion the launch of The Research Valley Innovation Center into a world-class, state-of-the-art, science and technology business incubator and accelerator.

“We have already started to put together an organization with strong innovation and acceleration services while identifying talented service providers and experienced mentors who want to work with us. Together we will nurture and launch RVIC member companies into the marketplace,” Lancaster said.

”I am also identifying a few existing early-stage companies to determine how we can engage and help them right now. The key message is that we’re not going to take a long time discussing how we’re going to make an impact on area companies; we’re going to dive in immediately and get to work while we put the infrastructure in place for the long term.”

For more information on The Research Valley Innovation Center, contact James Lancaster, General Manager, at (979) 260-1755 ext. 101 or james@rvic.org

— Marketing & Communications