The Applied Innovation Center at DRI (AIC) is an Applied Research Center following the Fraunhofer model and a ' start-up' in the data and analytics space. The AIC leverages the intellectual capital of more than 100 DRI faculty and 60 years of environmental science research to focus on four main areas of applied research: (i.) Climate, weather and energy nexus; (ii.) Internet of things and remote sensing; (iii.) Engineering and design, and; (iv.) Life Sciences and informatics.

From these four core areas the AIC is able to: 1) Build platforms (hardware and software) for industry; 2) leverage these platforms for sponsored projects; 3) Create jobs; 4) write new and more competitive grants; and 5) build or help build high tech companies in Nevada. The AIC develops and incubates intellectual property by DRI scientists that meet the needs of industry relying on environmental expertise.

The AIC at DRI is supported by DRI and the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) Knowledge Fund. The Knowledge Fund is a major instrument to recruit highly specialized science and research faculty. This recruitment effort further expands already existing research areas of excellence in the state and thereby assists applied research centers in the effort to support industry innovation in Nevada. Through the Knowledge Fund, GOED supports projects at the Desert Research Institute (DRI), the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).

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