Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.35
Liaison Christa Rieck
Submission Date Nov. 23, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Houston
IN-4: Innovation 4

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
UH Innovation Center

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

Information about the innovation center taken from Houston PBS, UH Moment:

A brand new innovation center at the University of Houston Energy Research Park is offering students, staff and alumni a space to start their business.

“Physically I don’t think this space has any parallel”, said Wolff Center Director for Entrepreneurship Ken Jones.

In the past two years, entrepreneurial teams from UH have formed over a dozen companies. Dr. Mark Clarke, the Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer, saw a need for the new space.

“We didn’t build it with the hopes that they would come, we built it because they were already here,” Clarke said.

This new space allows those companies a place to grow without worrying about many of the concerns most start-ups face.

“The innovation center is a landing pad for the steam of entrepreneurial teams that we are creating internally so they can come and mature into successful companies,” Clarke said.

“We now have a wonderful opportunity for anyone that comes to UH to not only look at the idea, monetize the idea, but now have a home in which to make that idea work,” added Jones.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

A group of students in the Bauer College of Business Entrepreneurship program developed a business plan for a start-up called REEcycle. They are now running their start-up in incubation space located in the innovation center. The partnership between Energy Research Park, the Innovation Center and departments on campus is allowing research and ideas to be implemented into products, companies and services that are truly innovative and focused on sustainability and solutions to energy problems.

Taken from a UH magazine article: "The REEcycle business plan and startup is based on a technology developed by Allan Jacobson, Robert A. Welch Chair of Science and director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, who developed a way to extract rare earth elements from electronic waste. Rare earth elements are used in cell phones, computer hard drives, catalytic converters, wind power generators, energy efficient lighting and other “green” technologies.

Rare earth elements are generally not found in high concentrations, making it difficult to extract them economically. China controls more than 90 percent of the world’s supply, and Jacobson became interested in developing a way to recycle these after reading DOE reports about critical materials for future energy use. Jacobson discovered a chemical reaction that can extract the rare earth elements neodymium and dysprosium from discarded electronic waste.

REEcycle won first place at Baylor’s New Venture Competition, later repeating the feat in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) regional Clean Energy Business Plan Competition at the California Institute of Technology. They then won first place at the national DOE contest in Washington, D.C. (where the team took all three of the top prizes)."

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum Yes
Research Yes
Campus Engagement No
Public Engagement No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings No
Dining Services No
Energy Yes
Grounds No
Purchasing No
Transportation No
Waste Yes
Water No
Coordination, Planning & Governance No
Diversity & Affordability No
Health, Wellbeing & Work No
Investment No

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:

The website URL where information about the innovation is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.