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UMKC Innovation Center

UMKC Innovation center is using network power to fuel startups  


From whiteboard to boardroom, the University of Missouri—Kansas City Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark entrepreneurial efforts within the region and across the country.

The center, led by Maria Meyers, has built a network of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial support organizations and academic researchers all with one goal: generate new startups in the Kansas City region.

“What the UMKC Innovation Center is doing to move technologies out of R&D and into the market is critical to our global competitive future,” said Leo Morton, UMKC chancellor.

The center’s most recent collaboration, The Digital Sandbox, pulls Kansas City’s leading corporate citizens into the mix.  This new proof-of-concept center brings Kansas City’s corporate giants Sprint, Hallmark, Cerner, UMB, VML together with academia, entrepreneurs, business development organizations and economic developers to “play in the Sandbox” to accelerate the commercialization of new ideas and promote business and job growth in the region.

To fund the project, Meyers and the UMKC Innovation Center led a consortium to win the i6 Challenge, a $1 million grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. In addition the project has garnered $500,000 from the Missouri Technology Corporation and more than $600,000 in in-kind support from local corporations.  The goal of the Sandbox is to create new companies that raise significant funding or reach $1 million in revenues within two years.

“Kansas City has needed proof of concept support to move ideas from research labs to the market. The Sandbox provides unprecedented access to industry expertise and fills two gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem: connecting large industry to the entrepreneurial and university research networks and providing early-stage proof-of-concept support.  Maria and the entire Innovation Center Team have become an invaluable asset to UMKC and an integral part of Kansas City’s effort to become America’s most entrepreneurial city. We expect big things from the Innovation Center and they always find a way to deliver!”

—Lawrence Dreyfus, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development
University of Missouri—Kansas City

For more information on the UMKC Innovation Center, click here

Research Parks & Incubators

The University of Missouri System’s statewide network of research parks provides a thriving environment for discoveries to move from the laboratory to the marketplace. The atmosphere of innovation and collaboration attracts national and international tenants who create quality employment opportunities for Missouri citizens and millions of dollars of capital investment across the state.

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Office of Intellectual Property Administration

The Office of Intellectual Property Administration (OIPA) supports the economic development mission by encouraging broad practical application of university research for the public benefit; assisting those associated with the technology transfer program with evaluating, protecting, licensing and commercializing university discoveries; and carrying out new economic development initiatives designed to create jobs in Missouri.

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Funding Opportunities

The Office of Research and Economic Development is dedicated to commercializing university technologies - one of the biggest challenges to that mission is funding. To proactively combat the constant obstacle, the office has formulated different funding programs for faculty, students and innovations in all stages of the discovery process.

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Office of Research & Economic Development

The Office of Research and Economic Development was established in 2005 to link research and commercialization from the four University of Missouri System campuses with emerging and existing firms across the state and around the world. Working closely with the chief research officers, chancellors and technology transfer offices from each campus, the office also serves as a conduit to local, state and federal agencies to ensure research results aid the growth of Missouri’s economy.

The Office is dedicated to advancing Missouri through innovation, investment and infrastructure.

Our enthusiasm for these three categories revolves around the development of intellectual property, funding programs and research parks and incubators. Providing support during critical stages in university inventions’ path to the marketplace stimulates Missouri’s economy, jobs and entrepreneurship.

Our vision is to enable and lead Missouri’s transformation toward a knowledge-based economy dependent upon innovation and entrepreneurship.

Contact Us

309 University Hall
Columbia MO, 65211
Phone: 573-882-6726
Email: email