CA Legislature Approves Expansion of iHub Program

New legislation passed by the California legislature would expand the state’s Innovation Hub (iHub) program, which supports commercialization and entrepreneurship at a regional level. The program initially was launched in March 2010 through the state’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. Under the new bill, administration of the current 12 iHubs and any future hubs would formally be moved to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, which has informally overseen the project in more recent years. The updated legislation also allows the office to issue proposals to designate new hubs, including hubs that would overlap current hubs as long as they have a distinct focus on separate industry sectors. A new state treasury account also would allow the iHubs program to collect funds from private sources. Governor Jerry Brown now has 30 days to sign or veto the bill. Read the legislation...

SUNY Acquisition Demonstrates Prominent Role of Research Centers in Innovation Economy

Well-designed research centers can help bring an innovation ecosystem together through the spillover effects of knowledge dissemination, student learning experiences, local early access to new technologies, and by attracting R&D funding. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced a $30 million initiative led by SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) to transform and revitalize a vacant building into a hub for smart cities technology companies, research, education and workforce training.

Universities in MN, WA Post Impressive Gains in Spinoffs

A recent report by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) dubbed American universities the “unsung heroes in the economic recovery.” Through licensing and startup activity, universities and other groups earned more than $2.6 billion total income from royalties and other sources in FY12 alone, according to the report highlights. Research universities often garner more attention for their role in product and company development. Such is the case at the University of Washington and University of Minnesota, where officials posted a record number of spinoffs from university technology over the past year.

Economic Contribution of Tech Transfer Professionals Recognized in AUTM Report

Although universities are not always at the forefront of the discussion on job creation and economic activity, they saw a sizable increase in licensing and startup activity during FY12, according to a survey by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). Respondents reported $36.8 billion in net product sales from licensed technologies and startup companies from 70 of the surveyed institutions employed over 15,000 full-time employees. Highlights from the survey are available now, and the full report is set to release at the end of the year. Read the report…

U.S. Research Universities Launch New Initiatives for Tech-Based International Development in Africa

U.S. research universities have launched several new initiatives to impact international development across Africa by leveraging their institutional knowledge to support tech-based economic growth on the continent. The African Development Bank, a regional multilateral development bank, also announced that it will commit $45 million for the creation of a Pan African University consisting of five thematic institutes focused primarily on science, technology and innovation.

Research Centers Gaining Momentum with Help from Private-Sector Partners

The co-locating of researchers, donated equipment, and capital are recent examples of key elements provided by private-sector partners to help accelerate technology commercialization. In the past month, leaders from universities and nonprofit organizations across the country have announced new efforts to expand research capacity and bring more products to market by launching innovative centers in collaboration with corporate partners.

New Energy Secretary Begins Major Departmental Reorganization

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz is leading a restructuring of the department's management, reorganizing programs and undersecretary positions to better align with the operational goals of supporting President Obama's Climate Action Plan, an "all of the above" energy strategy, and strengthening nuclear security. The move will create an Under Secretary for Management and Performance, merge the energy and science programs, and consolidate the department's defense waste cleanup efforts.

States Target Research, Commercialization for Economic Growth

A continued trend toward improved fiscal conditions gave rise to targeted and riskier investments in research for several states this legislative session. In particular, lawmakers dedicated funds for life sciences research and for initiatives aimed at commercialization through partnerships with higher education and the private sector. Other states dedicated additional funds to expand promising research and technology-focused initiatives already underway.

Nevada Legislature Approves $10M for Tech Commercialization Fund

Nevada legislators recently approved $10 million in funding for the state's Knowledge Fund, a technology development and commercialization support program first introduced in 2011. The fund, modeled on Utah's USTAR program, received no allocation for its first two years due to a lack of state funds, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal (also see the July 20, 2011 and January 23, 2013 issues of the Digest). Knowledge Fund dollars may be used to support research teams at Nevada state universities and the Desert Research Institute, to launch a technology outreach program to connect researchers with entrepreneurs, to build new research facilities and to fund technology commercialization activities. Read the bill...

IN Gov Releases Details on $360M Bioscience Research Institute

Governor Mike Pence has released details on Indiana's statewide public-private collaborative life sciences partnership. The estimated $360 million Indiana Biosciences Research Institute will receive $25 million for the biennium from the state of Indiana to cover startup costs, which will be augmented by another $25 million from industry and philanthropic sources (see the May 8 issue). Industry partners will guide the institute's research and commercialization priorities, which will focus initially on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and nutrition. Teams led by research “Indiana Fellows” will share resources at the institute and work onsite at industry and university labs with academic and university scientists. Read the announcement...


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