Science & Technology Commission Meeting Minutes
March 9, 1999
Attendees: Anita Jones (chair), David Allis, John Bean, Don Brown, Suzanne Farnsworth, Ariel Gomez, Ian Harrison, John Herr, Stephanie Johnson, Bob Jones, Dick Merrill, Karen Parshall, Sally Parsons, Dennis Proffitt, Gary Owens, Tom Skalak, Kevin Sullivan, Gene Block (ex-officio), Erik Hewlett (ex-officio), Dick Sundberg (ex-officio). Staff: Denise Karaoli (VA 2020 project director), Amy Cronin (asst. to the president), Peggy Reed (asst. to Anita Jones), Fariss Samarrai (science writer, University Relations). Guests: Rebecca Kneedler (chair, Public Service and Outreach Commission); Public Service Commission members Laura Hawthorne, David Kalergis, Dennis Kernihan, Ed Kitch; Health Sciences Center strategic planning consultants Will Falk and Audre Gvildys.
Ms. Jones introduced members of the Public Service and Outreach Planning Commission in attendance, and noted that the S&T Commission will work closely with this group on areas of overlapping interest as the planning process continues. She also introduced Fariss Samarrai, science writer in the Office of University Relations, who will assist the commission with promotion of science and technology activities. Consultants Will Falk and Audre Gvildys attended the meeting as observers, and will lead a discussion of how to approach strategic planning at the next meeting.
Commission member John Herr then gave a presentation of the work and organization of the Center for Recombinant Gamete Contraceptive Vaccinogens (CRGCV) at the U.Va. Medical School. Originally funded through an NIH grant in 1990, it is one of three national centers for new contraceptive development. The Centers research focuses on pre-fertilization contraception, which Dr. Herr noted is most likely to have broad acceptance. Since its founding, the Center has received or filed 13 patents. Dr. Herr indicated that the patent process is important because patents lead to industrial interest and investment in research projects. Dr. Herr discussed the importance of building ties to industry early in the research process due to the time limit (20 years) of patents that may arise from the research. The work of the center has resulted in the formation of two small companies: Humagen and ContraVac. The Centers current funding comes from a number of sources, including NIH, industry, private foundations, the World Health Organization, and USAID. Organizationally, the Center has seven tenure-track primary investigators, and all other researchers/staff are funded with soft money. Dr. Herr noted that they fund two young investigators per year out of industrial and foundation support. He said that the University has provided support on such things as space needs which have aided the success of the Center.