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Maryland University-Industry Program Sees 74 Percent Boost in Funding

June 05, 2006

Maryland General Assembly approval of a $1 million boost for the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program, one of the nation's oldest continually run programs to support university-industry research projects leading to technology commercialization, marks a 74 percent increase above the $1.35 million program budget for 2006. The increase was proposed by Gov. Robert Ehrlich in his fiscal year 2007 supplemental budget.

MIPS was authorized by the state in 1987 to promote the development and commercialization of products and processes through industry-university research partnerships. The program provides funds to Maryland companies to pay for university research. Since its inception in 1987 through 2003, 32 rounds of awards were completed.

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis for projects submitted by companies and researchers from any of the 13 University System of Maryland (USM) institutions. Types of projects funded include R&D in high-tech fields such as engineering, computer science, and physical and life sciences. MIPS also supports education and training projects designed to help companies plan and develop industrial training for employees.

Martha Connolly, director of MIPS, presented an overview of the program during SSTI's annual conference last year in the session, "Building Effective University-Industry Partnerships." According to the presentation, proposals are evaluated on technical merit and economic development potential. MIPS offers up to $200,000 in matching funds for research projects, and there is a 60-day turn around from application to award.

In reviewing "lessons learned" from the program, Ms. Connolly pointed out that testimonials are effective, offering several examples of successful products manufactured under the MIPS program. For example, the program has supported popular biotech drugs, a leading broadband by satellite service, and a kit to detect E. coli contamination in fresh produce and food services.

According to the presentation, the program's contribution to the state's economy has been widespread. Not only does the program create current high-paying jobs at the universities and companies, but it also has the potential to create future jobs with each investment. Additionally, the program opens direct company access to faculty experts at all USM institutions and is the only organized university R&D program in which commercialization is a primary factor for award.

More information about the MIPS Program is available at: http://www.mips.umd.edu/