In 1988 The Irvine Company announced the lifting of deed restrictions on the 510 acres known as the "inclusion area," thus allowing the university to develop a research and development park in partnership with private companies. University Research Park was conceived in 1989 as part of UCI's Long Range Development Plan. Under Chancellor Laurel Wilkening's leadership, the UC Regents approved the proposal in 1997 to lease 85 acres of undeveloped campus land to The Irvine Company for creation of the Park. At that time the Company had already started the first phase of development on 95 acres of Company land neighboring the UCI School of Medicine.
The University Research Park centers on collaboration between the private sector and UCI researchers to transfer knowledge between the two. The UCI community benefits from the University Research Park's scholarships, fellowships, recruitment opportunities, and academic seminars. The proximity of the Park to a major research campus also provides the private sector with access to UCI's wealth of academic and research resources. Emphases of the University Research Park include biomedical, computer hardware and software, pharmaceutical, and other technology-based industries.
In 2000 the University Research Park was officially designated a "Power Park" by the U.S. Department of Energy. At the time it was one of only four designated Power Parks in the nation and the second in California. By 2004 the Park included 185 acres of land and 2.4 million square feet of research space. It housed 30 corporations such as AOL (America Online), Cisco, Canon, McKinsey & Company, faculty start-up companies and UCI-affiliated offices.
University Archives Vertical Files collection. AS-163. Box 16 (Folder 14). Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Accessed Oct. 16, 2017.