Celebrating the Rise of Innovation Campus
The vision of a vibrant innovation hub that helps fuel Nebraska’s economy began more than a decade ago. Today, that dream is being realized at Nebraska Innovation Campus.
The thriving research campus is now home to more than 40 private and public sector partners. With 455,000 square feet of collaborative office, conference, manufacturing, teaching, research and greenhouse space and cutting-edge facilities, companies and entrepreneurs work closely with Husker scientists and students.
In 2018, NIC generated $238 million in total economic impact, fueling 1,430 new jobs statewide and providing 75 student internships, according to a 2018 independent study.
“NIC is proving to be one of the fastest-growing facilities of its kind in the country,” said Dan Duncan, NIC’s executive director.
“We are fortunate to have had many things come together at the right time to enable NIC to grow this fast,” Duncan said. “Companies like Spreetail, Virtual Incision, Adjuvance Technologies, Quantified Ag and several others are growing with the campus.”
Virtual Incision, a medical device company founded by University of Nebraska faculty, located at NIC in 2016. Rapid growth – including several new employees and the next phase in commercializing its miniaturized surgical robot, designed to improve abdominal surgeries – spurred the need to expand. The company moved in 2018 to a larger space in NIC’s newest structure, the $15.3 million, 75,000-square-foot Rise Building officially opened in January 2019.
Virtual Incision’s facility, the first of its kind in Nebraska, includes a mock operating room and areas for manufacturing and prototyping. The manufacturing space enables the company to closely monitor production of its high-quality robots, cameras, consoles and surgical tools.
“When you produce medical devices, you have to maintain strict and regulated manufacturing best practices,” said Shane Farritor, Lederer Professor of Engineering and the company’s chief technology officer. “We’ve never had this capability before.”
The company is preparing its robot for human trials and commercial approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
NIC’s facilities are growing, too. A complete redesign of Nebraska Innovation Studio is enhancing the collaborative makerspace’s role as a campus and community resource. The space will soon feature a metal shop, a larger instant prototyping inventory and a larger woodshop – all draws for current and prospective tenants.
At full build-out, NIC will be a 2.2 million-square-foot campus that brings together private industry and the university community.
Nebraska news release: Faculty spinoff upgrades to a new home at Nebraska Innovation Campus
Nebraska news release: Innovation studio readying metal shop, complete redesign