The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center - Oregon BEST
Oregon State University is instrumental in this network of universities connecting with the state's businesses to transform green building and renewable energy research into on-the-ground products, services, and jobs.
See Oregon BEST
An Economic Engine for Oregon’s Green Economy
An economic catalyst, Oregon BEST connects Oregon startups and existing businesses with a range of programs and a statewide, shared-user network of university-based researchers and laboratory facilities to grow the state’s key economic sectors of renewable energy and the sustainable built environment. By fostering and supporting public-private collaborations, Oregon BEST sparks economic growth through commercialization of research—resulting in on-the-ground products, services, and jobs that power Oregon’s green economy.
Oregon BEST’s work adds value and enhances competitiveness for startups as well as existing Oregon businesses. It also grows the state’s research revenue, expands research programs, enhances workforce development, and positions Oregon to recruit new cleantech companies.
Since its establishment as an independent, nonprofit organization by the Oregon Legislature in 2007, Oregon BEST’s 210-plus Member Faculty have attracted more than $50 million in research revenue to Oregon from federal, industry, and foundation sources. Building on Oregon’s international reputation as a sustainability innovator, Oregon BEST offers a range of programs, expertise, and research facilities described below.
Oregon BEST Shared-User Research Facilities
Oregon BEST supports a statewide university-based network of shared-user research facilities worth millions of dollars that offers Oregon industry access to cutting-edge research tools, faculty expertise, and workforce development opportunities. This unique, distributed network of labs, managed by Oregon BEST Member Faculty, helps Oregon firms compete globally and Oregon universities grow research revenue and educational opportunities.
To date, the Oregon BEST Shared-User Research Network includes the following facilities:
- SuNRISE Photovoltaics Laboratory at the University of Oregon
- Oregon Process Innovation Center (OPIC) for Sustainable Solar Cell Manufacturing at Oregon State University
- Green Building Research Laboratory at Portland State University
- Green Building Materials Laboratory at Oregon State University
- Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory with locations at the University of Oregon in Eugene and in Portland
- infraStructure Testing and Applied Research (iSTAR) Laboratory at Portland State University
- High Performance Environments (HiPE) Lab at the University of Oregon
People throughout Oregon benefiting from this shared-user network range from architects and construction firms engaged in sustainable built environment materials and design, to farmers and forest products companies producing biomass for clean fuels and bioproducts, to large and small companies generating solar, wind, geothermal, and wave energy.
Oregon BEST Member Faculty
A statewide network of 200+ Oregon BEST Member Faculty across four universities offer expertise and advice to industry to help Oregon companies, ranging from startups to existing firms, compete in the cleantech economy. The research expertise of Oregon BEST Member Faculty includes advanced energy and the sustainable built environment, as well as cleantech business expertise.
Oregon BEST Commercialization Program
This program accelerates the commercialization of technologies developed by universities and small businesses in Oregon. The program focuses on creating commercialization partnerships between industry and Oregon universities or leveraging existing collaborations between Oregon companies and Oregon BEST’s Member Faculty.
The commercialization collaborations that are catalyzed by Oregon BEST create much-needed jobs for Oregonians in the cleantech sector, which is expected to experience significant growth for decades to come. Simultaneously, the technologies commercialized help address the challenges of climate change, our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, the environmental impacts of energy generation and building materials production, and the quality of our indoor environments.
The Commercialization Program has two main elements:
- Oregon BEST Commercialization Grants help bridge the gap between traditional R&D funding sources and the availability of private investment – a gap commonly known as the "valley of death." By working with Oregon BEST Member Faculty at our partner universities, the university tech transfer offices, and small businesses, we identify opportunities for small investments to make a big impact in moving products and services to market and to achieving success in securing follow-on financing and initial customer traction.
- Commercialization acceleration support services connect experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence on the Oregon BEST team with researchers and startups that need assistance in making the transition from "technology readiness" to "investment readiness" and "commercial viability." We provide consulting and mentorship to assist in the areas of business strategy, product strategy, acquisition of private capital, strategic business development, and management team formation. Oregon BEST leverages the wide range of entrepreneur support services available from other entities and provides a focal point for the development of cleantech products and cleantech companies.
Oregon BEST Sustainable Built Environment Research Consortium
This is a regional group of member firms, organizations, and researchers collaborating on applied research, development, and commercialization of sustainable technologies and services for the sustainable built environment.
The Oregon BEST Sustainable Built Environment Consortium and its members not only address a critical global need, but also help the region create jobs, increase intellectual capital, and advance Oregon’s role as an internationally recognized center for the commercialization of cutting-edge innovations in the built environment. Consortium members collaborate to achieve the consortium’s overarching goals, while creating a competitive advantage for member companies and organizations.
Consortium Members benefit from participation in a range of ways: Developers improve the success of their projects and businesses benefit from the unique opportunity to demonstrate their products and services as part of their commercialization pipeline. The unique nature of this test bed and the opportunity to evaluate product performance over time and over a broad range of projects will help boost the region’s economy by driving private partner revenue. Download the Sustainable Built Environment Research Consortium brochure.
Proposal Matching Program
The Oregon BEST Proposal Matching Program assists Oregon BEST Member Faculty and research teams win competitive proposals for research grants/contracts, research equipment acquisition, and product development/commercialization. The Oregon BEST matching funds provides support of activities that strengthen the competitiveness of proposals that might be difficult to fund with the primary funding agency’s funds.
Oregon BEST’s leadership includes executives from some of the world’s most respected sustainable built environment and renewable energy companies: SolarWorld, Portland General Electric, Gerding Edlen Development, Collins Companies, CH2M HILL, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Perkins Coie.
These executives join research leadership from Oregon BEST’s founding partner universities (see below), venture capital and corporate investors, and members of the Oregon Legislature to make up a visionary Board of Directors, a Commercialization Advisory Board, and staff—all committed to fueling Oregon’s green economy.
History and Founding Universities
Oregon BEST was established as an independent, nonprofit organization in 2007 as part of the Oregon Innovation Council’s legislative recommendations. Initial funding came from the Oregon Legislature, with additional support from the Oregon University System and the Meyer Memorial Trust. Founding partner universities include the Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon.