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Nevada Reestablishes Office of Science, Innovation, and Technology

September 03, 2015

As part of Nevada’s efforts to better prepare its workers to compete in the state’s technology industries, Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the reestablishment of the state’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology, naming Brian Mitchell its program director. The office, which Sandoval says is inspired by the workforce development programs he saw in Germany during his recent European trade mission, will coordinate efforts between K-12 schools and universities to improve STEM education and ensure that the state’s workforce meets industry needs.

Although the office was originally established in 2001 under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) chapter 223.600 to establish criteria and goals for science, innovation, and technology based economic development, it had been lightly used.  In his 2015 State of the State address, Gov. Sandoval announced his intention to re-ignite the office. Sandoval signed AB 485 in June 2015, which revises the governing duties and structure of the new governor’s Office of Science, Innovation, and Technology and provides for support to the Advisory Council on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

A 2014 report by The Brookings Institution, Cracking the Code on STEM, indicated that Nevada’s STEM activities lacked strong vision and alignment with state goals, noting the need for governor level intervention. Citing this report, the governor’s office has expressed belief that the improved coordination between the various entities engaging in STEM-related activities should occur within the new Office of Science, Innovation and Technology, according to a May briefing from Nevada’s Senate Committee on Finance and Assembly Committee on Ways and Means. 

Under the state’s 2016-2017 biennial budget, the office will receive $2 million in funding for FY 2016 and $3 million in funding for FY 2017. In addition to the creation of the office, other activities included in the budget are the administration of STEM Challenge grants and other workforce development programs, and the implementation and oversight of Nevada’s broadband policy.


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