QB3 restructures, creating the "InnoLab" to focus on technology commercialization

Taking the recommendations of a strategic analysis by Deloitte, QB3 has reorganized staff and resources into the “InnoLab,” a division explicitly devoted to entrepreneurship, industry partnership, and policy.

QB3 is now structured administratively as three campus sites—at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and UCSF—in parallel with the InnoLab.

The InnoLab will be overseen by Regis Kelly, PhD, director of QB3. “Stratifying QB3 in this way allows us to distinguish the research and education programs that lead to innovation from the ones that convert those innovations into benefit to society,” said Kelly. “Now that our responsibilities are clearly laid out, QB3 will be more efficient overall.”

Governor Gray Davis founded QB3 and its sister institutes in 2000 as the “California Institutes for Science and Innovation.” But no blueprint was provided for QB3 beyond appointment of a director and three campus directors, whose responsibilities were not defined. As QB3 evolved, research and education became the domain of the campus directors, while entrepreneurship and industry relations gravitated to the director’s office. QB3 has now officially recognized this evolution by establishing the InnoLab.

“My colleagues and I at QB3-Berkeley look forward to interacting with the InnoLab as we help create and formalize efforts to foster collaborations between the University and industry,” said Susan Marqusee, MD, PhD, director of QB3-Berkeley.

In December of 2010 QB3 began collaborating with Deloitte, a leading provider of business services. Deloitte undertook a study to determine how entrepreneurs, UC scientists, and leaders in business and government perceive QB3’s accomplishments and potential. The goal was to identify opportunities, QB3 activities that could be scaled up, and ways in which QB3 could become more efficient.

After analyzing input to the study, Deloitte found that QB3 would benefit from a clear delineation of roles for QB3’s campus centers and the administrative team operating out of the director’s office. Deloitte recommended that the campus sites focus on research and education, and the director’s office rebrand itself as overtly devoted to the economic aspects of QB3’s mission.

In response, Kelly drafted a plan for the InnoLab that lays out a mission—“to help our inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs contribute their discoveries to society’s benefit”—and four strategic goals: 1) to find scientific discoveries that have the potential to impact society, by combining the complementary talents of academic and industry scientists; 2) to nurture innovations of unusual promise; 3) to support innovators by enabling entrepreneurship; and 4) to sustain QB3’s activities by addressing critical success factors.

“The QB3 InnoLab will provide a critical service connecting the breakthrough science of UC with the people who can turn these discoveries into innovative approaches to improving human health,” said Matthew Hudes, US Managing Principal, Deloitte. “By bringing together scientists, investors, private industry, and government, the QB3 InnoLab will also create jobs and companies in California. Deloitte has been working with QB3 on a pro bono basis to help realize this mission, and I look forward to continuing our collaboration in the future.”