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University-Industry Research Partnership Wins Approval in Idaho

March 14, 2012

With overwhelming support from the Idaho legislature, Gov. Butch Otter signed into law HB 546, a measure to establish the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM), an industry-university research partnership to facilitate and accelerate tech transfer. The governor proposed $5 million for the initiative within the FY13 Higher Education and Commerce budgets, which are pending approval in the legislature. The bill signed by the governor modifies the existing Idaho Innovation Council into an oversight and governing body called the IGEM Council, which is charged with distributing grants, developing and implementing a statewide strategic plan for innovation and establishing objectives for the program. Funding for the initiative is divided among three areas: $1 million for the Department of Commerce to set up the IGEM Innovation Grand Fund for investment in new technologies with oversight from the IGEM Council; $2 million in increased funding for Idaho's universities; and, $2 million in ongoing, permanent support for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies. The organizational structure is set up so that up to 5 percent of commercialization revenue is reinvested into the Innovation Grant Fund. IGEM is modeled after successful programs in Colorado, Utah and Virginia. More information is available at: http://gov.idaho.gov/priorities/IGEMflyer.pdf.