Daniel Rothberg / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Jan. 29, 2016 | 4:24 p.m.
State lawmakers and top university officials attended the opening today of three UNLV offices at data company Switch’s Innevation Center. The center will house portions of UNLV’s economic development office and its research foundation.
The university’s Office of Economic Development, which was started five years ago to encourage private-public partnerships, will still have a presence on UNLV’s campus. But the new Switch-based offices are indicative of its focus on greater public outreach.
“This is really the gateway for us to engage with the rest of the community,” said Zach Miles, an associate vice president for economic development at UNLV.
Miles also serves as the director of the UNLV Research Foundation, a university-related nonprofit that supports research and will have a presence at the new offices.
Switch donated the space to UNLV, Miles said. University officials spoke of a close relationship with Switch, noting that one of its Las Vegas data centers is home to UNLV’s supercomputer.
Switch has also provided UNLV with an exclusive fiber connection that connects its SUPERNAP data center directly with the university campus.
“This relationship has been so good for us,” UNLV President Len Jessup said.
The supercomputer, which has the equivalent power of several thousand laptops, is being used for a number of research projects, from studying genomes to testing new gaming technology, which often requires users to run millions of simulations.
Last year, UNLV’s Office of Economic Development helped launch three startups — Abel Therapeutics, Moveo Medics and Colony Shield. The university has also pledged to increase its research spending as part of an effort to become a top-tier research university. The move of some of the office’s resources to the Innevation Center signifies UNLV’s desire to broaden its community engagement as it relates to research, Miles said.
He envisions UNLV serving as a resource in several areas of economic development. He said those include supporting small businesses and developing a strong regional workforce.