- Report Published -
|The Status of the Commonwealth's Technology Assets|
|Center for Innovative Technology|
|SJR 226 (Regular Session, 1997)|
|This report places key Virginia technology and science assets into a nationwide and international context. Among other findings, the report notes that:|
• Virginia’s science and technology assets as a whole, and those specifically mentioned in this legislative resolution, are key to supporting both existing and emerging technology-based industries in the state as they compete in the global economy.
• Existing science and technology assets must be nurtured over time, as they do take a significant period of time to develop prior to their having significant economic impact. They are, however, key to making Virginia a technology state.
• New opportunities to match Virginia’s emerging technology assets with emerging industry sectors appear regularly. The State must be in a position to support the attraction and establishment of new resources.
Recommendations made as a result of this study are:
1. Create a Technology Growth Fund: The creation of a Technology Growth Fund, to be administered by CIT, will provide the funds needed to meet matching requirements to compete for federal projects which create new research centers or R&D projects such as National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers. In addition, the Fund would provide funding to capitalize on commercialization opportunities where Virginia has existing technological or scientific assets that when leveraged with state funds, significant economic development activity will result, such as at the Applied Research Center or the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center. Finally, a fund will assist in the development of a statewide strategy and accompanying resources to identify, track, and attract R&D facilities and organizations to Virginia.
2. Establish new Technology Innovation Centers: Throughout this report, a number of CIT’s Technology Development Centers were mentioned by name. These centers have, over the years of their existence, leveraged $7 in additional funding from industry and the federal government for every $1 in CIT funding spent. In 1996, seventeen new companies were spun up out of only nine centers, and over $50 million in competitiveness and over 700 jobs were attributed to work performed at eleven centers. It has been five years since CIT had funding enabling it to establish new centers. The creation of new Technology Innovation Centers, whose goals include not only technology development, but also application, commercialization, and a rapid response to meet the needs of businesses using the centers, is recommended.
3. Statewide Strategies for Virginia’s Future: The Commonwealth currently is not capitalizing on all potential research, development, and commercialization opportunities because it lacks comprehensive statewide strategies in the following three areas:
• First, Virginia does not have a statewide strategy for the attraction and ongoing support of federal research and development assets. The last such Virginia effort was saving Wallops Island from potential closure and the creation of the Virginia Space Flight Authority to develop the Virginia Space Flight Facility. This asset, which is expected to provide one hundred million dollars in revenue annually from operations and associated business activities when fully operational – to say nothing of the jobs saved and created, was rescued from potential closure in the final moments of decision making. No plans have been made from a statewide perspective to save, nurture, and attract other federally derived assets, now valued at well over $750 million.
• Second, Virginia like most states does not enjoy a statewide, fully integrated technology transfer network. When implemented, companies will be able to identify at the touch of a button the intellectual property available in the Commonwealth as well as who to contact to license it. Companies will be able to find funding sources and strategic partners to develop and commercialize these disclosures. Through such a statewide strategy the Commonwealth will truly be an entrepreneur-friendly technology state.
• And finally, the Commonwealth enjoys many benefits derived from university-affiliated Research parks such as the Biotechnology Research Park reported on in this report, as well as the Corporate Research Center at Virginia Tech, and two research park facilities in the greater Charlottesville area. A new research park facility is being developed in Prince William County and the Applied Research Center, reported on above, is almost completed. The value of these parks to developing Virginia as a technology state has not been documented statewide, nor has the appropriate level of statewide support to assist in their ongoing health.
It is recommended that the Commonwealth support through CIT the development of statewide strategies for protecting and attracting commercial and federal research and development assets, for developing an integrated statewide technology transfer network, and for developing a statewide strategy to assist our research parks.