New state fund links
university research, economic development
Virginia General Assembly approved during the 2000 session the
creation of the Commonwealth
Technology Research Fund, a $13 million start-up fund to encourage
federal and private investment in basic and applied research at
Virginia public universities.
Commonwealth will begin funding awards as early as July 1, and
applicants can now begin submitting proposals. Grant-winning universities
must match the awards, making the total value of the fund $26
million. Grants may range from $500,000 to $1.5 million.
the creation of this fund, the legislature has made a precedent-setting
decision to directly support state university research,"
says Anita K. Jones, University Professor of Engineering and Computer
Science and chair of the Virginia 2020 Science and Technology
Planning Commission. Jones also co-chairs the governor's Virginia
Research and Technology Advisory Commission.
recently spoke about the fund on behalf of VRTAC during a meeting
convened at U.Va. by the state Department of Planning and Budget.
"With the help of VRTAC, the fund has been crafted to be
strategic in nature," Jones says. "It was created to
help build long-term research infrastructure in Virginia's universities,
to support basic and applied research, and to connect research
with economic development. This is a real opportunity for our
researchers, for our universities, and ultimately, for the economic
strength of our state."
identified several broad areas it considers of critical importance
to economic growth in the Commonwealth: information technology
and communications, biotechnology, bioinformatics, advanced materials
and nanotechnology, and technology contributing to advanced manufacturing
Commonwealth Technology Research Fund has three components, with
each tied to the above areas: a matching funds program to leverage
federal and private research dollars; a strategic academic enhancement
program, to upgrade research capacity in academic departments
in innovative technology fields with strong potential for contributing
to economic development in Virginia; and an industry inducement
program, to upgrade research capacity in key university departments
in order to attract specific companies to locate or expand in
Virginia. Awards from the fund will be based on the scientific
merit and economic development potential of research programs
in the fields of aerospace, biotechnology, energy, environmental
and information technologies, high performance manufacturing,
telecommunications and transportation.
may also be made in other research fields if a strong case is
made for the long-term economic development potential of the award.
merit-based selection process will include input from VRTAC. In
planning and administering the fund, the Department of Planning
and Budget is working closely with Virginia's Center for Innovative
Technology, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia,
the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, as well as VRTAC.
information, visit http://www.dpb.state.va.us/ctrf/ctrf.htm.