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Virginia Research Investment Fund


Round 1 Grant Awards

Governor McAuliffe announces $1.4 million in grants from the Virginia Research Investment Fund

RICHMOND —  Governor Terry McAuliffe today [Dec. 12, 2017] announced  that $1.4 million in grants have been awarded from the Virginia Research Investment Fund in its first funding round. The awards will support promising technologies at Virginia’s universities that have strong commercial prospects. The projects have lined up $1.6 million in additional funding as a condition of the grant awards. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) administered the competition and the Virginia Research Investment Committee members made the final decision on the awards.

“Virginia’s colleges and universities serve as our laboratories for new, innovative technologies,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These grants demonstrate how we can strengthen the new Virginia economy by bringing together innovative campus research and creative business ideas. I am proud that we can support this important work at our higher education institutions and further build upon Virginia’s reputation as national leader in research and cutting-edge technology.”

Projects were proposed in the life-science and cybersecurity fields by Virginia institutions of higher education and their partners. Each project was evaluated for its commercial viability by a team of peer reviewers, entrepreneurs, and investors.

The grants, approved yesterday by the Virginia Research Investment Committee, will bring the following inventions closer to market:

  •  An artificial pancreas that uses smart phones, insulin pumps and the online cloud to reduce blood-sugar variation in people with diabetes (University of Virginia): up to $255,855.
  • Two product lines based on patented algorithms that use machine learning to improve the safety and security of wireless communications from cyberattacks (Virginia Tech): up to $1,181,030.

“The promising proposals approved today are examples of how original research, when brought to life in the marketplace, can help people live better lives,” said Peter Blake, director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and chair of the Virginia Research Investment Committee.

“These grants and commercial products demonstrate the potential of education not only to change lives but to save them,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “We are grateful to the governor and the General Assembly for their support of the Virginia Research Investment Fund.”

The General Assembly designated $12 million for the research fund and $29 million in bonding authority to support the purchase of research equipment or laboratory renovations associated with researcher-incentive packages and the translation of research into commercial use.

For more information on the awards, click here..

Creation

The 2016 Virginia General Assembly passed, and Governor Terry McAuliffe signed, legislation to support the academic-research enterprise in the Commonwealth. Enacted as Article 8 of Chapter 31 of Title 23.1 (§23.1-3130 through §23.1-3133) of the Code of Virginia, the legislation created the Virginia Research Investment Fund (VRIF) and an awarding body, the Virginia Research Investment Committee (VRIC). The Director of SCHEV is designated as VRIC Chair. SCHEV is charged with establishing guidelines, procedures, and objective criteria for the award of grants from VRIF.

The 2016 legislation also amended Va. Code §2.2-3705.6 (exclusions to the Freedom of Information Act), §2.2-3711 (closed meetings authorized), and §23.1-203 (duties of State Council of Higher Education for Virginia).

In 2017, amendments to the authorizing statutes were proposed as SB1371/HB2245 and signed into law as Chapter 816.


Appropriations

In December 2016, the Governor's Executive Amendments to the 2016-2018 Biennial Budget included reductions to VRIF appropriations. The final budget bill of the 2017 General Assembly Session, Chapter 836, designated $4 million for VRIF in FY2017 and $8 million in FY2018, as well as $29 million in bonding authority in FY2017 to support the purchase of research equipment or laboratory renovations associated with researcher incentive packages and the translation of research into commercial use (see Item 255). The budget also designated the VRIF as recipient of the final proceeds of the sale of certain property in Loudon and Fairfax counties deemed surplus (see Paragraph U of Item 428).

Members

List of members and biographies.

Meetings

Meeting information, agendas, and materials.

Resources

Links to related programs in Virginia and other states.


Annual Report  (November 1, 2016)

Annual Report (Pending - November 1, 2017)


For additional information, please contact:

Lynn Seuffert, Associate for Research Investment, via email or call (804) 786-2306.

Dr. Alan Edwards via email or call (804) 225-3189.

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