Research is about exploring and developing good ideas. Research entrepreneurship is about making sure the best ideas get out to market where they can do some good. This is our mission: to bring together public and private-sector partners to mash-up technologies–especially those involving interactivity, responsiveness and digital display environments–so that students can build businesses, our partners can extend what their products and services do, and people everywhere can benefit from new technologies that anticipate and respond to their needs.
Research entrepreneurs do not invent; they innovate. Rather than building technologies from scratch, they learn to assemble two or more technologies into new, even more useful combinations. By extending what existing technologies can do, REAP students create new business opportunities for themselves, and along the way, new markets for our technology partners. This model of innovation also spares researchers and established companies the expense, IP issues and other frustrations common to invention-based approaches, allowing them to more quickly and efficiently to develop market-ready solutions that meet emerging needs.
REAP is a non-credit program at the University of Waterloo that pays undergraduate students while they learn to develop new uses and markets for interactive display technologies. Arts-led, though not arts exclusive, the program employs the students from all faculties as research entrepreneurs for projects that can take place over one or more academic term. Our off-campus lab–called Felt–is hosted by our founding partner, Quarry Integrated Communications, in St. Jacobs, just ten minutes from the University campus.