The University of Houston's 74-acre Energy Research Park is being renamed the UH Technology Bridge and refocused on commercializing new technologies.

The goal is to help bridge the "valley of death," the stage at which technology has advanced beyond the substantive research phase but is not yet commercially viable, according to a news release.

The university's plan involves three major components: attracting large industry partners, attracting more startups and identifying areas of applied research that require space for larger experimentation and to scale up as they get closer to commercialization.

UH Technology Bridge has more than 30,000 square feet of incubator space and nearly 200,000 square feet of built-up space suited for large laboratories, pilot scale facilities and light manufacturing.

The Technology Bridge is expected to create $1 billion in cumulative economic development for Houston over the five-year period covered by the plan. This would result from bringing five large industrial partners, 25 startups and three new research collaborations to the facility.

"Companies taking products from idea to commercialization need expertise ranging from research to licensing to startup formation and operation," Amr Elnashai, vice president of research and technology transfer at UH, said in the news release. "They need interns in specialized fields, technical and startup consultants, and they often need laboratories with large amounts of space for experimentation, to produce a prototype or to scale their operations. We have all of this to offer."

This announcement is the latest in a string of Houston innovation efforts. In April, Rice University announced that will transform the former Sears property in Midtown into an innovation center for technology companies as part of a broader effort to spur on the local startup community.

Then Houston Exponential, a nonprofit created in October, . Houston Exponential was created by combining the Houston Technology Center with the Mayor's Technology and Innovation Task Force and the Greater Houston Partnership's Innovation Roundtable.

That was followed by , a medical research campus across 30 acres that they said would unite four powerhouse research institutions and make Houston an international hub for biomedical innovations.

Finally, to help increase computer literacy among Houstonians and develop smart-city solutions here.

"The UH Technology Bridge is a leap that will contribute significantly to Houston's rapid growth as the next fertile ground in the U.S. for digital technology breakthroughs, startups and incubation work among public and private groups," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in the news release.

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