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Lab Space, Commercialization Support Backed by State Governments

June 26, 2014

This article is part of SSTI's series on trends in state technology-based economic development legislation in 2014. Read our other entries covering legislative action on patent reform, research capacity, capital & tax credits, workforce & STEM and manufacturing & clusters.

State legislators in many parts of the country took action this year to fund the construction of research infrastructure and provide financial support for commercialization. In Kansas, New York, Georgia, Maine and Wyoming, legislators funded the construction of laboratories and other innovative spaces at public universities to boost the high-tech economy. In Colorado, Maryland and a number of universities, new initiatives were rolled out to support public-private research collaborations and the commercialization of cutting-edge technology.

Building the infrastructure for research
Kansas’ Wichita State University received $2 million in funding for the Innovation Campus at Wichita State earlier this year. The launch of the campus is the first step in the university’s long-term plan to construct a five-building campus dedicated to the commercialization of university research and the growth of technology companies. The university also launched the Wichita State Innovation Alliance, a nonprofit entity currently awaiting approval of 501(c)(3) status, to operate its technology and innovation campus, according to the Wichita Business Journal.

New York University (NYU) announced it will roll out the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab (Leslie eLab) to support the entrepreneurial efforts of researchers, students and faculty from NYU’s 15 constituent institutions. The lab will integrate the universities’ research and commercialization efforts into New York City’s urban economy. New York’s FY15 budget also restores funding for the state’s Centers of Excellence program, which builds public-private partnerships to commercialize scientific discoveries. Read more …

Georgia’s FY15 budget includes funding for a $44.7 million Science Learning Center at the University of Georgia (UGA). UGA’s new 122,500-square-foot facility will replace current science buildings and increase lab space for students. The space will include 33 teaching labs, two lecture halls and two other classrooms. An additional $10 million will be available once construction is finished to update current facilities, with an emphasis on repurposing outdated educational spaces into cutting-edge laboratories for faculty research.

A competitive grant program to fund the development of a biometric research facility in Maine was funded through a $10 million bond. The Bangor Daily News reports that Bar Harbor’s Jackson Laboratory will likely be the only party to apply.

The University of Wyoming School of Energy received $15 million through the FY 2014-16 state biennial budget and another $15 million in matching grants to construct a major facility for energy and engineering research.  The 81,000-square-foot High Bay Research Facility will include lab space for large-scale experiments in an effort to help the program gain “Tier 1” status as an engineering school. Read the related Digest article …

Bringing discoveries to market
Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper signed off on a $2 million, two-year effort to boost the state’s university-business partnerships in the energy sector through the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory. The Collaboratory will receive $1 million in 2014-15, and $1 million in matching funds for 2015-16 to fund clean energy research collaborations between universities and the private sector.

Legislators in Maryland increased the state’s support for high-tech research and commercialization in the state’s FY15 budget. Investors will be able to claim $12 million in biotech tax credits, a $2 million increase over the previous year. Up to $4 million will be available in tax credits for investors in cyber security companies through the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit, and $9 million in credits will be allocated through the R&D tax credit program. A new Cybersecurity Investment Fund will offer early stage seed funding for cybersecurity product development.

Several new programs have been launched across the country to fund startups commercialize university technologies. New programs were announced at Arizona State University, Louisiana State University, Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin. Read the details …

Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, New Yorkstate budget, tax credits, higher ed