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Note: This is an archive version of the UH Strategic Directions 2015-2021 site, for the current plan see UH Strategic Plan 2023-2029

Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative (HII)

Create more high-quality jobs and diversify Hawaiʻi’s economy by leading the development of a $1 billion innovation, research, education and training enterprise that addresses the challenges and opportunities faced by Hawaiʻi and the world.

The economy of Hawaiʻi is currently highly dependent on tourism and military spending. The creation of a third economic sector based on research and innovation has been identified as a community priority. As the largest research enterprise in the state, the University of Hawaiʻi is absolutely essential to achieving this economic diversification. The university, in partnership with the business community, plans to create innovation clusters that link fundamental scientific discovery with applied research and economic development. The university will also provide the training required for technological innovation and economic development to enable Hawaiʻi’s citizens to lead and participate in this sector. With an emphasis on our responsibility to the community, the Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative will focus on the following hubs: astronomy, ocean sciences, health sciences and wellness, data intensive sciences and engineering, agriculture and sustainability sciences including energy.

HII Action Strategy 1:

Sustain and advance the UH research enterprise.


  • Empower current UH faculty by identifying and removing administrative and policy barriers that impede research efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Achieve financial sustainability for research under declining state investment
  • Craft internal incentives and rewards for growth

HII Action Strategy 2:

Advance innovation and entrepreneurship within UH and the community.


  • Integrate entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the UH educational experience for students across the system with strengthened credit and non-credit education, internships, employment opportunities and extra-curricular/co-curricular activities
  • Introduce new approaches to UH commercialization and technology acceleration (OTTED 2.0) such as:
    • More flexible licensing
    • Proof-of-Concept/Accelerator to nurture UH technologies
    • Greater community outreach and institutional in-reach
  • Strengthen existing partnerships and form new ones to enhance high quality job creation in Hawaiʻi:
    • Support the Hawaiʻi Business Roundtable (HBR) and others in the establishment of a Hawaiʻi version of “CONNECT”
    • Enhance meaningful collaborations with state agencies, incubators and accelerators, national and international agencies and collaborators
  • Improve communication within the State and beyond regarding the value of UH research and its critical roles in Hawaiʻi’s economic development, job creation and in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing Hawaiʻi and the world

HII Action Strategy 3:

Invest internal resources and seek external resources for strategic infrastructure requirements and hires that leverage our location and strengths as well as address critical gaps.

  • Ocean and climate sciences
  • Astronomy
  • Health and wellness
  • Digital/creative media
  • Cybersecurity
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Energy
  • Data intensive science and engineering initiative to support all research sectors

Metrics for Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative (HII)

Last modified: February 21, 2023
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