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Santa Cruz Works Receives Community Changemaker Award for Supporting Regional Economic Prosperity Through Innovation

UC Santa Cruz has recognized Santa Cruz Works with the first Community Changemaker award in recognition of their exceptional contributions to regional economic growth in the Santa Cruz area through their innovative and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Santa Cruz, CA ( Tuesday Jun 6, 2023 @ 2:00 PM PDT

The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) held its inaugural Chancellor’s Innovation Impact Award Program dinner on May 30, 2023. The program acknowledges the contributions of UCSC’s staff, students, faculty members, and community partners in innovation and creativity in education and technology.

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This award belongs to every teacher, professor, mentor, every daring entrepreneur, every disruptive startup, and every innovator in our community.

Russell Corbett-Detig, Assistant Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at UCSC, and his team were awarded the Innovator of the Year for their development of a computational tool called UShER. This tool tracks the SARS-CoV-2 virus in real time and identifies new virus lineages. Corbett-Detig states, “I’m thrilled to receive the Innovator of the Year award. This recognition highlights the incredible innovation that is possible through collaboration with colleagues and students.”

David Deamer and Mark Akeson, both Research Professors Emeriti of Biomolecular Engineering, received the Lifetime Achievement in Innovation award for their nanopore sequencing research that revolutionized DNA and RNA reading. “We are honored to receive this award,” says Mark Akeson. “Our work has always been about pushing the envelope of possibility, and it gives us great pride to know that we have made a difference.”

Santa Cruz Works (SCWorks), a nonprofit organization supporting regional economic prosperity through entrepreneurship and innovation, received the Community Changemaker award for their efforts in aiding the university to connect with PPE-producing companies, expanding their digital footprint, and developing entrepreneurial skills for students and innovators, among others.

SCWorks played a vital role in bringing events such as Launchpad '22 and Blue Innovation '22 to campus. These events are designed to support stakeholders interested in water management and ocean climate solutions. “We are humbled to receive this award. This award belongs to every teacher, professor, mentor, every daring entrepreneur, every disruptive startup, and every innovator in our community. It is a tribute to those who foster the dreamers who then transform their vision into reality to make a better world,” says Doug Erickson, executive director of SC Works during their acceptance speech.

The Chancellor’s Innovation Impact Award Program highlighted the efforts of individuals and organizations that have contributed to the growth and sustainability of technology and education in Santa Cruz. This program is committed to recognizing those who have made significant contributions to promoting innovation and creativity.

For more information about the Chancellor’s Innovation Impact Award Program and upcoming events, visit the University of California, Santa Cruz’s official website.

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