Nebraska Innovation Campus: Spaces and Culture that Inspire

Nebraska Innovation Campus. June 27, 2016. Photo by Craig Chandler / University Communication.

by Kate Engel

Nebraska Innovation Campus is connecting the talents of experts, companies, and the university through space, place, programs, and events to create a unique culture of innovation.

Nebraska Innovation Campus (NIC) is a campus designed to facilitate new and in-depth partnerships between the University of Nebraska and private sector businesses. NIC is adjacent to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and strategically provides organizations with access to needed research faculty, facilities and students.

NIC is home to and welcomes companies of all sizes. Called NIC Partners, organizations leasing space at NIC are a mix of startups, mediums sized companies and larger companies. The diverse mix of companies located on the campus creates and builds a culture of innovation and creativity.


The campus is made up of office space, a makerspace, a conference center, a local coffee shop, a hotel, wet and dry lab space, pilot plant space and greenhouse space. 

Nebraska Innovation Studio (NIS) is one of the nation’s top makerspaces. Located at Nebraska Innovation Campus, NIS is a 16,000 square foot facility that houses a full metal shop, wood shop, rapid prototyping room, art studio, ceramics and textiles equipment, and more. NIS is open to university faculty, students, staff and community members for a monthly membership fee. Makerspace members receive free training on all equipment. For more information about taking a tour of NIS, becoming a member and to see full equipment lists, please visit INNOVATIONSTUIDO.UNL.EDU

The Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center is housed in a historic building that has been reconstructed to provide a unique full-service conference center. Operated and managed by the Nebraska Alumni Association, the NIC Conference Center provides multi-functional meeting and collaboration space that includes a 400-seat auditorium, 400-seat banquet hall and eight breakout rooms. Each space features state-of-the-art audio and visual capabilities. For more information and to book your conference, meeting or event, please visit INNOVATE.UNL.EDU/NIC-CONFERENCE-CENTER. 

The Mill Coffee & Bistro offers their signature coffees and teas. Located at Nebraska Innovation Campus, the coffee shop also offers breakfast and lunch items as well as wine, craft beer, and cocktails. The Mill Coffee & Bistro provides a warm, welcoming, collaborative environment for NIC Partners and the community. 

The Scarlet Hotel is a new six-story, 154-room boutique hotel located in the heart of Nebraska Innovation Campus. Designed with unique local touches and staying true to Nebraska’s motto, each room gives guests a taste of “the good life” while paying homage to local towns and homegrown heroes. The hotel includes a full-service restaurant, coffee shop, fitness facility, rooftop bar and additional high-end features to ensure an outstanding guest experience. For more information, please visit SCARLETHOTELNEBRASKA.COM.

The Food Innovation Center is a 178,000 square foot complex serving private/public partnerships. The center provides world-class facilities for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Food Science and Technology Department and private companies in leased space. The Food Innovation Center features wet/dry lab research space, food grade/non-food grade pilot plant space, a state-of-the-art distance education classroom and office space. For more information, please visit INNOVATE.UNL.EDU/FOOD-INNOVATION-CENTER.    

The Greenhouse Innovation Center is 45,000 square feet of greenhouse and headhouse space. The facility features state-of-the-art computer environmental controls, a LemnaTec High-Throughput Plant Phenotyping system, and 22-foot eave heights to allow for optimal air circulation. The greenhouses are heated and cooled with sustainable energy. Tailored greenhouse services are available. For more information, please visit INNOVATE.UNL.EDU/GREENHOUSE-INNOVATION-CENTER. 


Nebraska Innovation Campus is the place to build the big idea, where imagination meets hard work and collaboration yields results. 

The Nebraska Innovation Campus staff is focused on creating physical space, programs and events that encourage unplanned conversations and creative collisions. The campus allows organizations and guests to be immersed in a collaborative environment and innovative culture filled with creative energy. The intentionally designed campus environment promotes sharing of ideas and their synergistic development.


Through innovative spaces, the campus strives to catalyze employee satisfaction and retention, and empower NIC Partners to reach their goals more effectively.

Sustainability matters at Nebraska Innovation Campus. Campus buildings are heated and cooled by a renewable energy source, the Centralized Renewable Energy System (CRES). The CRES uses reclaimed, non-drinkable water from the nearby Theresa Street wastewater treatment plant to heat and cool the campus buildings. This award-winning closed-loop system transfers thermal energy in underground piping to the entire campus. 

Nebraska Innovation Campus buildings are built to LEED Silver standards and enable the campus to minimize its impact on the environment while maximizing the utility and wellbeing of users. Abundant natural lighting and extensive measures to ensure high indoor air quality translate into tangible benefits to the health and productivity of occupants. 

Nebraska Innovation Campus is dedicated to keeping waste out of the landfill and strives to become a zero waste facility. Compostable materials (including food waste, paper towels and cardboard) are collected and composted. Campus facilities also feature single stream recycling and the Hefty® EnergyBag program. 

Nebraska Innovation Campus is alive with energy, ideas and the promise of the future as strong partners join forces to create and collaborate. To learn more about Nebraska Innovation Campus, please visit INNOVATE.UNL.EDU


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