Northam to propose new authority for consolidating state investments in research
Gov. Ralph Northam will propose legislation to create a new authority to transform the way Virginia invests in higher education research in emerging technologies, as well as the startup companies and entrepreneurs necessary to turn that work to gold for the increasingly high-tech economy.
The Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority would combine the 35-year-old Center for Innovative Technology — based in Richmond instead of Northern Virginia — and the three-year-old Virginia Research Investment Committee, whose leaders strongly endorsed the idea on Tuesday.
“I wish this had been up 30 years ago,” said Doug Juanarena of Roanoke, who has founded multiple startup companies to commercialize technological research and helped raise venture capital for others. “We’d be so much further along.”
The new authority also would oversee the work of five current state-financed initiatives in specific technologies, including the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Prince George County and the fledgling Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, which is based in Northern Virginia but connected to four higher education research nodes across the state.
“What we have right now are multiple initiatives, all with good intent,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said . “What we’re trying to do is pull all these together .”
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