Innovation Center


We aim to accelerate impacts of faculty and student discoveries and inventions using startups as vehicles of innovation, in short to help Austin be a better Silicon Valley.

Who we are and what we do.

Led by Ethernet inventor Dr. Bob Metcalfe, we are a group of experienced entrepreneurs dedicated to helping professors and students transform their ideas and discoveries into innovations that will impact the world and change lives. We regularly meet with new and serial inventors to provide advice, answer questions and offer connections that can help turn their projects into successful startups or into significant licensing opportunities.

Innovation Grants

Innovation Grants help UT professor-led teams close the funding gap between research and commercialization. The Innovation Center seeks innovators who are committed to commercializing their research and donors who want to support their efforts with tax-deductible gifts. Grant amounts will range from $5,000-$50,000.  Learn More.

Spring 2017 Awards

Prof. Adela Ben-Yakar
Prof. Andrea Thomaz

Spring 2016 Awards

Prof. Luis Sentis
Prof. Richard Crawford

UTAustin stARTup Studio

The stARTup Studio is led by Bob Metcalfe and provides UTAustin professors guidance in the "art" of technology commercialization. Professors are invited to present their discoveries, inventions, and startups at small, informal gatherings of local industry experts and entrepreneurs. These studios are sponsored by the UTAustin Office of Technology Commercialization, the Austin Chamber of Commerce, and WeWork Austin. Attendance is by invitation only.

See what was written about previous stARTup Studio presenters:

StARTup Studio - Feb. 18, 2017
StARTup Studio - Feb. 1, 2017
StARTup Studio - Dec. 18, 2016
StARTup Studio - Nov. 21, 2016
StARTup Studio - Oct. 16, 2016
StARTup Studio - Sep. 18, 2016
StARTup Studio - Apr. 21, 2016
StARTup Studio - Feb. 24, 2016
StARTup Studio - Jan. 26, 2016
StARTup Studio - Dec. 10, 2015
StARTup Studio - Nov. 2, 2015
StARTup Studio - Oct. 18, 2015

Idea to Product Competition

The Idea to Product Competition, founded at The University of Texas at Austin by Dr. Steven P. Nichols, hosts early-stage technology commercialization competitions that seek to recognize marketable innovations arising from university research. The goals are both education and fostering the next generation of technology entrepreneurs.  

This student expo is sponsored by the Marvin and Ellie Selig Excellence Fund in Entrepreneurial Studies.

Longhorn Startup

The Longhorn Startup Seminar is a lecture-based course in the Fall semester that features prominent entrepreneurs telling the stories of how they founded their companies. Any student from any college can register for either of these course numbers: CS178 ES177.

The Longhorn Startup Lab is an intensive project-based course in the Spring semester for student entrepreneurs who get course credit for building their startup with guidance from amazing professors and mentors. Learn More.

Courses for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

The Innovation Center is pleased to share a partial list of the many courses offered across the University for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Click Here for Undergraduate Courses
Click Here for Graduate Courses

Longhorn Maker Studio

Longhorn Maker Studio is a makerspace where engineering students can come and make things. It can be used for class projects, student clubs, to test an idea, or just for fun.

Creating an Entrepreneurial Ecology

The Innovation Center fosters growth and success by following the Doriot Ecology. Named after Georges Doriot, founder of the first publicly owned venture capital firm, American Research and Development Corporation, the Doriot Ecology consists of seven major groups that team up in various combinations to propel startups into world markets:

  1. funding agencies
  2. research professors
  3. graduating students
  4. scaling entrepreneurs
  5. venture capitalists
  6. strategic partners
  7. early adopters

Innovation Network

The Innovation Center works closely with UT Austin's wide range of entrepreneurial organizations, groups and resources, such as:

Austin Technology Incubator
Game and Mobile Media Applications (GAMMA)
Genesis Program
Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship
Innovation, Creativity, and Capital Institute (IC2 Institute) Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency
Master of Science in Technology Commercialization
National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps)
Office of Technology Commercialization
Texas Venture Labs

Innovation Center Leadership

Bob Metcalfe, Professor of Innovation, Innovation Center Faculty Director

Steve Nichols, Advanced Manufacturing Center Director

Louise Epstein, Innovation Center Managing Director

For information on sponsorships, programs and events, contact Louise Epstein via email at or by phone at 512-567-1849.

Upcoming Events

May 9 - Office Hours 1-4pm

Bucks for Brains

Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN)

The Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN) is the largest Angel Investing Network in Texas.

NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™)

Is a public-private partnership program that teaches grantees to identify valuable product opportunities that emerge from academic research, and offers entrepreneurship training to participants.

NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program

Supports innovation among businesses with fewer than 500 employees.


VentureWell has awarded $7.5 million in grants to over 500 student teams.

Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize

The student prize competition is open to teams of undergraduate students and individual graduate students who have inventions in categories that represent significant sectors of the economy: healthcare and consumer technologies.

Nokia Bell Labs Prize

The Nokia Bell Labs Prize is a competition for innovators from participating countries around the globe that seeks to recognize proposals that 'change the game' in the field of information and communications technologies by a factor of 10, and provide selected innovators the unique opportunity to collaborate with Bell Labs researchers to help realize their vision.