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   from the issue of July 17, 2008

Proposals sought for Innovation Campus


Developers and planners with ideas and approaches to UNL's proposed Innovation Campus are being asked to respond to a Request for Information that will inform the university and outline ideas on development approaches to the private/university research partnership.

Following the receipt of informational proposals deadlined Aug. 15, university planners will review the submissions and invite three to five developers to campus for further proposal discussions.

The Innovation Campus concept is a proposed redevelopment of State Fair Park into an Innovation Campus, to exploit the opportunity of private sector co-location with the university's basic and applied research to create opportunities for economic development. This would come through mutual research projects with university faculty, internships by university students, access to scientific advancement with cutting-edge research for private industry employees, and opportunities for sharing expensive core facilities and instrumentation.

"The Nebraska Innovation Campus has already generated national interest and several developers have contacted us already," said Harvey Perlman, UNL chancellor. "This Request for Information will open up the process widely and give developers an opportunity to become involved and for us to gain additional insights into a variety of approaches."

Developers are directed to the UNL Purchasing Web site ( and navigating to the "bidding opportunities" link where the RFI is posted. Developers are also being contacted directly about the opportunity.

Agricultural biotechnology and life science research are anticipated to be strong components of the campus. Other areas of university research strength that provide opportunities for viable partnerships include food science and food safety, robotics, computer technology, laser sciences, transportation, energy sciences and alternative energy.

"We have talked to some developers who may be willing to make the necessary infrastructure investments for us and this would, of course, ease the financial burden on the university," Perlman said.

The request includes information pertaining to potential partnerships, land development possibilities, financing options for necessary infrastructure improvements, and phasing. UNL will review submissions from developers/firms and work directly with companies that demonstrate knowledge in large development projects and show evidence of experience in the development of research campuses and/or large private-public land developments. UNL leaders will use the information provided by the RFI to craft a formal RFP for the development of the Nebraska Innovation Campus. The development firm selected from the RFP process will become a partner with UNL leaders and planners to develop a long-term master plan for the property.

Questions can be directed via e-mail to



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