UC Davis Recognized as Innovation of the Year Honoree in Annual Awards

Commitment to Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Region Led to Honor

University of California, Davis, Chancellor Gary S. May, accepted the 2017 Innovation of the Year honor today (Nov. 7) on behalf of the university at the second annual Sacramento Region Innovation Awards.

Innovation of the Year Award
The award

“I’m honored to accept this fantastic award on behalf of the entire UC Davis community,” May said. “We are grateful to be recognized for our innovation, because innovation defines so much of our university mission and spirit.”

In the past fiscal year, 14 startup companies were created using technologies developed at UC Davis and with the help of its Venture Catalyst program, STAIR Grant, AB 2664 funds and business partnerships. Additionally, UC Davis Extension each year serves up to 60,000 professionals and continuing education students, whose courses and certification programs include entrepreneurship academies in food, agriculture and biomedical engineering.

Prior to arriving on the UC Davis campus on Aug. 1, May already had his eye on ways that UC Davis could work with the Sacramento region to expand those opportunities.


Cristina Davis portrait Davis

XTB Laboratories Inc., co-founded by Cristina Davis, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace, took home the Innovation Award in the food and agribusiness category. XTB developed a method that can quickly and noninvasively diagnose a devastating citrus disease known as citrus greening that has cost the citrus industry billions of dollars in lost revenue.

“This technology is poised to help make a huge difference in early pathogen detection for the citrus industry,” Davis said, “and it can readily be expanded to other agriculture industries in the future.”

He asked the crowd to imagine a tech innovation ecosystem in the urban core of Sacramento: a hub as an extension of the UC Davis campus, one that links the university’s world-renowned research, faculty and students with local business.

“This is the working idea that I’m calling ‘Aggie Square,’” May said.

The concept consists not only of research labs, but also includes housing, retail space and venues for art and music to tie itself to the surrounding community. It is modeled after Atlanta’s Technology Square, which May had a hand in developing while serving as dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech.

“I’ve already had discussions with Mayor Steinberg and Sacramento business leaders, and I’m confident we can do something similar with Aggie Square,” May said.

About the awards

The Sacramento Region Innovation Awards are presented by Stoel Rives LLP, Moss Adams LLP and the Sacramento Business Journal. The awards program recognizes recent business innovations in six categories, honoring the people and organizations that advance new products, services and processes from the regional economy.

Media Resources

Kimberly Hale, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-9838, klhale@ucdavis.edu

AJ Cheline, UC Davis Office of Research, 530-752-1101, acheline@ucdavis.edu

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