RISE-UP Program


RISE-UP (Resilient, Innovative, Sustainable Economies via University Partnerships) is a multi-year initiative funded by the US Office of Naval Research (ONR), and is a collaboration between the University of Alaska, University of Hawaii, and University of Rhode Island. Each of the states have very similar sized populations and economic challenges, and each play a very important strategic role in the U.S.’s national security and maritime economy.  

The University of Rhode Island, University of Alaska and University of Hawaii are providing student exchange opportunities under this initiative as well as developing an inter-state mentorship network to enhance participant’s learning and development journeys. Through the exchange program, participants will be exposed to real-world, real-time problems while being guided by mentors across state, industry and sector. 

Within the RISE-UP initiative, the three universities will be focused on working towards the development of commercialized scalable technologies and in the process build a workforce for the Navy and industries of the future. With a keen focus on developing new dual use technologies that may translate into innovative products, services, and ideally new ventures, the four distinct RISE-UP programs seek to drive meaningful research and innovation outcomes related to energy, marine technology, and the overall blue economy. 



Patents2Products is a year-round fellowship program that hires student trainees, known as Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) Fellows, to learn and acquire necessary skills and tools for launching a successful startup. By both developing new and utilizing existing intellectual property – to include those developed by or associated with URI – you will work to turn great ideas into successful companies. 

The program is seeking highly motivated trainees with strong scientific and technical backgrounds as well as entrepreneurial aspirations. P2P aims to provide you with an opportunity to pursue translational research focused on commercialization through a learning and implementation framework that leads to tangible outcomes in product development. 

Faculty Fellows Program

Faculty Fellows is a semester-long program strategically focused on enhancing faculty involvement in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at URI to establish an active, collaborative network of colleagues who are motivated to integrate an entrepreneurial mindset into their teaching and research.

Through an intensive bootcamp, faculty fellows will learn key techniques on how to incorporate the Lean Startup methodology into the design of their program curricula and effectively teach multidisciplinary teams on tackling real world challenges through research. With a rigorous structure of teaching, mentoring, participation in curricula design and networking, you will be positioned as a vital part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 


Pathways to Innovation & Entrepreneurship for Defense (PIE-D)

PIE-D is a semester-long sprint-like design program that will teach students to work through one iteration of the design process with an entrepreneurial focus: translating needs to technical specifications, concept generation and down-selection, specification refinement, functional prototyping, testing, and redesign.

Following the Lean Launchpad methodology taught by real-world entrepreneurs, teams will focus on ideation and iteration, spanning three strategic areas: oceans, defense, and healthcare. Following the Lean Launchpad methodology taught by faculty to include real-world entrepreneurs, you will learn ideation and iteration, spanning strategic areas to include oceans, defense, and healthcare.

Ideation Studio

Ideation Studio is a year-round program that sponsors faculty and student teams to explore the pathways for taking technological innovations to market. The studio’s goal is to help URI research groups explore and navigate the establishment of company startups after spinning out from the lab.

This program will focus on accelerating the growth of start-up companies to get to the next stage(s) of their development. Possible MVPs may develop and be tested by early adopters with an established product-market fit. With support and collaboration from the URI Research Foundation, RIHub and MassChallenge, among other RI innovation ecosystem partners, faculty and students will work together to advance discoveries and ideas towards new products, services, and businesses.  

Technology Transfer Fellows Program

Technology Transfer [TT] Fellows Program is designed to train students in assisting for tech transfer. Fellows will be licensing specialist who will access the technical and market value of potential, new, and existing URI inventions and intellectual property [IP]. 

Fellows will receive valuable training and experience such as determining technology readiness for licensing and market value propositions for early stage inventions.

Who should apply?

RISE-UP is designed to support students, entrepreneurs, researchers, educators, business leaders, and startups.

Not sure if RISE-UP would be a good fit for you? Talk to us! It might be perfect for you. Even if it’s not, we’ll get a better understanding of your goals, opportunities, and challenges and help you connect with the programs, people, and organizations that can best help.

Meet our team

Erik Brine
Director of Defense R&D Initiatives and Operations

Pete Rumsey
Program Executive

Ancita Sherel
Program Manager

Joe Loberti

Linda Larsen
Operations Manager