Summer accelerator program for high-impact ventures
*Applications Open Until June 4th*


The RISE-UP (Resilient Innovative Sustainable Economies via University Partnerships) initiative proposes a collaboration between public universities in Hawai’i, Rhode Island, and Alaska with similar missions, located in states with similarly isolated geographic contexts, to collectively develop and commercialize scalable technologies related to energy, marine technology, and other areas of the blue economy. The RISE UP initiative seeks to leverage complementary technical expertise among partner universities to address similar economic challenges and build a diversified, sustainable, and resilient economy and a workforce for industries of the future.

RISE-UP initiative will be a catalyst for driving meaningful research and innovation outcomes to collectively develop and commercialize scalable dual use technologies related to energy, marine technology, and other areas of the blue economy. In order for novel ideas to grow into job-creating commercial products and services and for the growth of new business sectors to be sustainable, government, industry, and academia must collaborate throughout the innovation process. Therefore, the proposed programs associated with this initiative will focus on developing technical solutions to real world needs, experiential education, and cross-disciplinary training in innovation and entrepreneurship to cultivate an environment committed to supporting next generation talent in building the necessary skills to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing in these strategic areas. Programs include:

  • PIE-D Program – Pathways in Innovation & Entrepreneurship for Defense (PIE-D), is a semester-long, sprint-like design program will teach students to work through one iteration of the design process with an entrepreneurial focus. Multidisciplinary teams will be formulated across the three institutions: (1) graduate students (2) undergraduate students (3) research mentor, and (4) industry business mentor, with a goal to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and perspectives.
  • URI Patents2Products – A year-round fellowship program that hires trainees (graduate students and postdocs), known as Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) Fellows, with the opportunity to broaden their skillset to learn innovation and entrepreneurship and acquire necessary tools for a launching a successful startup. 
  • Ideation Studio@URI – A year-round program that sponsors faculty and postdocs to explore the pathways for taking technological innovations to market, with a focus to help research groups navigate establishing company startups after spinning off from the lab. This program will focus on accelerating the growth of start-up companies with a target goal to have a minimum viable product (MVP) in the hands of early adopters with an established product-market fit.
  • Faculty Fellows Program – 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.

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We’ll be sharing alerts to opportunities to learn and grow as RISE-UP ramps up over the next months.


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.