Monrovia’s Oak Crest Institute of Science Awarded Major Grant

Monrovia High Students continue their science education at Oak Crest Research Institute with some unique programs that encourage young minds. – File photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News
Monrovia High Students continue their science education at Oak Crest Research Institute with some unique programs that encourage young minds. – File photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

Oak Crest Institute of Science (Oak Crest), a local non-profit science research and education organization, has been approved for full funding support through the i6 Challenge program under the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program. The prestigious grant award will help fund the Monrovia – Oak Crest Science and Technology Incubator Program (MOST-IP), an innovative science and technology initiative aimed at building regional capacity to translate innovations into jobs through proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance to innovators and entrepreneurs.

Of note, the i6 Challenge program was highly competitive, with only 22 awardees out of 183 applications in 2019. Furthermore, Oak Crest is one of only two awardees from California.

“This is fantastic news for the development of our startup infrastructure and the continuing workforce development at Oak Crest. The combination of our know-how, infrastructure and the support of our partners will enable us to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies while also training students on how it’s done. It’s a win-win situation all around,” said Dr. Chris Buser, the grant’s principal investigator and Oak Crest senior faculty.

In collaboration with the City of Monrovia and Newton World Enterprises LLC, Oak Crest launched the MOST-IP to develop and mature internal and external discoveries into products; provide access to laboratory infrastructure, scientific know-how and high-end equipment; teach scientists and diverse students basic entrepreneurial concepts; and support the formation and sustainability of startups through continuing business services.

Since 2011, the City of Monrovia focused its economic development approach to position the city as a premier location for technology and science-focused businesses, such as Oak Crest. The ongoing relationship with Oak Crest flourished into a vibrant local science and technology eco-system in Monrovia that links educational institutions with the business community to support continued social and economic growth, and provides workforce development opportunities with a dedicated school-to-jobs pipeline.

“Monrovia is home to a burgeoning high-tech industry where companies, like Oak Crest Institute of Science, are forging new solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems,” said Oliver Chi, city manager. “We are thrilled that Oak Crest has been awarded with this grant as it will only enhance their operations and provide them with funding to continue to deliver exceptional research, and create high-quality job opportunities here in Monrovia.”

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Simon Webster working with a Rosehill Foundation Research Fellow

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The Oak Crest Institute of Science is an innovative chemistry research and education center that advances the understanding of environmental and medical science through rigorous academic laboratory programs. Their research outcomes are important contributions on both the fundamental and applied levels of chemistry and biology; moreover, they shape public policies affecting regional environmental quality as well as medical care in the developing world.

“This very important, enabling award will allow us to significantly accelerate the development of the local science ecosystem,” said Dr. Marc Baum, president of Oak Crest. “Our goal is to jointly develop a local science and technology hub that organically integrates education, job creation, and business incubation with strong community participation. This prestigious grant could not have come at a better time!”

Oak Crest attracts highly skilled scientists who impact their respective disciplines and inspire the next generation of scientists through mentored research. Furthermore, the institute has a strong commitment to the local community, where they consistently engage efforts to mentor Monrovia youth interested in the STEM field, participate as an employer in the city’s summer Youth Employment Service program, and help lead elements of the city’s Junior Researcher Academy and Spring Break SciLab initiatives.

This project is funded by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration under award number ED19HDQ0200079. For more information on Oak Crest and the i6 Challenge program award, please contact Chris Buser at or (626) 817-0883.


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