Rice University Receives $16.5 Million for Innovation Lab

Rice University in Houston has announced a $16.5 million grant from entrepreneur and alumnus Frank Liu and his family to launch an innovation and entrepreneurship lab.

Awarded by the Frank and Cindy Liu Family Foundation, the gift will establish the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie), which will feature new and expanded courses and projects designed to encourage Rice students to pursue and achieve success in entrepreneurial endeavors. To be led by Abby Larson, the director of undergraduate education and research for the Rice Entrepreneurship Initiative, Lilie programs and courses will focus on giving students access to entrepreneurial expertise and experiences that facilitate innovation and collaboration. 

For example, two new courses launched through Lilie, the Entrepreneurship Experience and the Lilie Venture Challenge, will make it possible for students to engage real-world problems on dedicated teams and work with faculty and entrepreneurs in the Houston business community. Another new offering, the Lilie New Entrepreneurs Grant program, will fund compelling early-stage business ideas with the goal of attracting entrepreneurial students to the university.

"With this remarkable commitment to entrepreneurial experience and opportunity, Frank Liu and Rice make a strong statement about being a top choice for students who want to learn how to bring innovative ideas to life," said Rice president David Leebron. "As a successful Rice alumnus and entrepreneur, Frank understands the potential impact of the entrepreneurship program at Rice, in Houston and Texas, and the generous support of the Frank and Cindy Liu Family Foundation gives Rice students every opportunity to realize their ambitions."