Pat Jones, associate vice president for research and innovation at the University of Oregon, will accept an award at the 2015 International Town and Gown Association conference in Washington, D.C. today on behalf of the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN).
The International Town & Gown Association (ITGA) is a group of civic leaders, university officials, faculty, neighborhood residents and students who seek to bridge the gap between institutions of higher learning and the communities in which they reside to improve the quality of life for everyone in the region.
The group named RAIN as one of three recipients of its inaugural ImpACT awards, which recognize leaders of innovative initiatives involving city and university partners. The University of Oregon is a key player in the state-backed economic development initiative.
RAIN was singled out in the economic development category of the awards for successfully promoting entrepreneurship in Oregon’s South Willamette Valley and Mid Coast region.
The RAIN network links innovation activity at the state’s leading research universities — the UO and Oregon State University — to the entrepreneurial community in surrounding cities to create high-growth, technology-based startup companies that can generate jobs and opportunities in the region.
Since launching a year ago, over 40 startup companies have participated in RAIN accelerator programs in Corvallis and Eugene and have generated more than $5.7 million in sales, revenues, and grants.
The program was launched in 2013 by a $1.25 million investment by the Oregon state legislature as part of the governor’s Regional Solutions program. Jim Coonan, former Venture Catalyst Manager at Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), was appointed executive director of RAIN in 2014.