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ID Gov Announces $5M Industry-University Research Partnership

January 11, 2012

Gov. Butch Otter unveiled plans for a targeted partnership among industry, higher education and government that invests in R&D to produce new technologies — and ultimately — jobs. The governor is asking lawmakers to approve $5 million for startup costs in the FY13 budget. Legislation to be introduced later this session will provide a plan for reorganizing the Idaho Innovation Council and implementing the initiative — called IGEM for Idaho Global Entrepreneurship Mission. IGEM seeks to increase the state's knowledge-based economy by investing in strategic areas of research and developing a world-class talent pool. The program is modeled on similar initiatives in Utah and Virginia. As part of the IGEM initiative, the governor recommends $2 million for competitive state university research funds awarded through the Idaho Higher Education Research Council. This is envisioned as seed funding for investing in the development of expertise, products and services that can be commercialized. Another $2 million (up from $1.6 million in FY12) is included for the Center for Advanced Studies, which would serve as a partner in the IGEM initiative. The governor also recommends $950,000 in the Department of Commerce budget for grant dollars to bridge the funding gap between technology development and commercialization as part of the new initiative. Details outlining the structure of the program are anticipated in the coming weeks. However, the budget proposal includes $50,000 in operating expenditures and recommends using an existing position at the Department of Commerce to coordinate IGEM. FY13 Executive Budget documents are available at: http://dfm.idaho.gov/cdfy2013/publications/eb/eb_index2013.htm.

Idaho