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Posts Tagged: Glenda Humiston

ANR develops innovation incubation strategy

Fred Mendez (center), of Union Bank, was among the 40 people who met on Aug. 30 to develop a comprehensive strategy to nurture new technologies and innovative businesses for agriculture and natural resources.

“If UC ANR isn't an incubator, I don't know what is. Furthermore, I would argue that the partnership of our land-grant university system with Cooperative Extension is the original and most productive incubator that the world has ever seen,” VP Glenda Humiston wrote in the October-December 2015 issue of California Agriculture.  

Since joining ANR, Humiston has been working to expand UC ANR's incubation activities by joining with diverse partners to develop a much broader innovation infrastructure specifically designed to support intellectual property, innovation, entrepreneurship, tech transfer, startups and commercialization aimed at agriculture, natural resources and rural communities. 

“A lot of people have ideas, but they don't know how to be business leaders. An incubator connects them with the things they need to be successful as new entrepreneurs,” said Gabe Youtsey, chief information officer.

"We're catalyzing like-minded partners to jointly develop the needed statewide innovation infrastructure,” Humiston said.

To kick off development of such a system, Humiston brought together 40 people on Aug. 30 with a wide range of expertise and representing a variety of sectors: agriculture, banking, business, government, technology and higher education – including leaders of several successful incubators. The purpose of the meeting, held at the ANR building in Davis, was to engage the group in developing a comprehensive strategy to nurture new technologies and innovative businesses for agriculture and natural resources. 

“We're not looking to reinvent the wheel or duplicate existing efforts,” Humiston said, explaining that she hopes to support and leverage the strengths and efforts of partners.

Christine Gulbranson, UC senior vice president of research innovation and entrepreneurship, and Reg Kelly of UC San Francisco, who created QB3, – one of UC's best performing incubators – participated in the session. The quantitative biologists at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz who comprise QB3 take on challenges in biology using physics, chemistry, and computer science. QB3's Startup in a Box provides legal and grant-writing help for biotech startups.

“We want to take the QB3 model and modify it for ANR,” Humiston said. “But we don't have the resources to build a statewide system by ourselves so we're catalyzing like-minded partners to jointly develop the needed statewide innovation infrastructure.”

Such an innovation system could benefit a wide array of entrepreneurs in rural areas and help to commercialize ideas generated by UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors.

“Over the past eight years, ANR researchers have filed 148 patents,” Humiston said. “However, it is unclear if many of those had the support they needed to go the next step.”

Participants identified resources available and gaps around innovation, place, talent, stewardship and engagement.

At the meeting, the group divided into five tables of eight people. Each table had representatives of UC ANR, various UC campuses, state and federal government, funding institutions, incubators, and different industries. They discussed issues around innovation, place, talent, stewardship and engagement, answering the following questions:

  • What exists now?
  • Where are the gaps that need to be filled?
  • Which of these gaps could UC ANR help catalyze and fill, either with partners or on its own?
  • How could this work to fill the gaps be funded?
  • How do we measure success?

Conversations were lively and many ideas were brought forth for specific projects and other implementation. “It's really exciting,” said Humiston. “People were jazzed. Virtually all of the participants said they want to work with us on next steps.”

In addition to Humiston and Youtsey, AVP Wendy Powers and UCCE advisors David Doll and Andre Biscaro participated for ANR. Consultant Meg Arnold is writing up a report, which is expected to be released in early October. 

UC ANR takes part in its first CUCSA meeting

UC ANR vice president Glenda Humiston addresses CUSCA delegates from around the state.
At its September meeting, the Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA) voted unanimously to admit delegates from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. Now for the first time, UC ANR staff have representation in the statewide organization.

CUCSA delegates – who represent all the UC campuses, UCOP and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – meet quarterly to work on special projects of interest and importance to UC staff across California, share local staff assembly best practices, and learn about advances being made by UC academics and high-level UC leadership.

UC ANR vice president Glenda Humiston was a guest at the September CUCSA meeting. She outlined the origins of the division, the activities of UC ANR specialists and advisors, and introduced future plans.

Humiston noted a difference between UC ANR's network of nine research and extension centers and the UC Natural Reserve System.

“In the Natural Reserve, scientists look, but don't touch,” Humiston said. “In UC ANR, we plow, we burn, and we plant on our research and extension centers.”

Humiston has a long-time commitment to the value of working landscapes in California. She chartered an action team on working landscapes for the California State Economic Summit.

“Working landscapes are responsible for 1.2 million jobs and $318 billion in direct sales and exports,” Humiston said. “We're a key part of California's economy.”

Under her leadership, ANR has become a part of the University Economic Development Association, which advances knowledge and practice in economic engagement by institutions of higher education.

“I believe it's all about partnerships and collaboration – synergy,” Humiston said.

The CUCSA representatives for UC ANR are senior delegate Lori Renstrom, office manager for UC Cooperative Extension in San Diego County, who will serve until June 2017; and junior delegate Jeannette Warnert, public information representative for UC ANR Strategic Communications, who will serve until June 2018. A new “junior delegate” will be elected by the UC ANR Staff Assembly in spring 2017.

Renstrom is part of the CUCSA workgroup “Mental Health, Stress and Work-Life Balance,” which will review the impacts of increasing student enrollment and ongoing change initiatives as well as the challenges caused by the economy, family demands and other personal factors on staff's mental well being, identify available resources and make recommendations to address staff needs.  Warnert is part of the “UC Community Workgroup,” which will review staff diversity statistics across the UC system and obtain staff input about the diversity efforts at their locations. This information will help the workgroup identify best practices, challenges and recommendations for improvements.

All CUCSA workgroups complete a white paper which is presented to the UC Board of Regents at the end of the term.

If you're interested in learning more about ANR Staff Assembly, go to

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 8:44 AM
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