Northam announces $1.5M from Virginia Research Investment Fund

Gov. Ralph Northam today announced that $1.5 million in grant funding has been awarded from the Virginia Research Investment Fund in its second funding round.

The two-year grant will support the launch of the Virginia SmallSat Data Consortium, a collaborative research center co-led by Old Dominion University and Virginia Tech. Other partners will include the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and NASA Langley Research Center. The project has lined up $1.8 million in additional funding as a condition of the grant award.

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The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) administered the competition, and the Virginia Research Investment Committee (VRIC) members selected the final award recipient and announced the next grant recipient at its meeting in Richmond today.

“Virginia’s institutions of higher education are at the forefront of groundbreaking advances in areas like aerospace and the biosciences, and serve as hubs for innovative ideas and the commercialization of new technologies,” Northam. “This project, and the consortium’s public-private partnerships, will help bolster the Commonwealth’s position as a leader in satellite and data collection and support our continued work to drive Virginia’s economy forward.”

The Round 2 competition invited proposals for capacity-building projects at research centers in the strategic opportunity areas of small satellites, autonomous systems, big data, cybersecurity and life sciences. Each project was evaluated by a team of peer reviewers, entrepreneurs and investors to assess its potential to yield commercial products in the long term. Because the Round 2 funding remains open, an additional award announcement is possible at VRIC’s October 2019 meeting.

“This project represents a new and exciting direction for the investment fund, one that has tremendous potential to create a rapidly growing market for innovative data gathering,” said Peter Blake, Director of the State Council of Higher Education and Chair of the Virginia Research Investment Committee.

In 2016, the General Assembly passed legislation to support the Commonwealth’s academic research enterprise, creating the Virginia Research Investment Fund (VRIF) and an awarding body, the VRIC. Funds were appropriated for the research fund along with $29 million in bonding authority to support the purchase of research equipment or laboratory renovations associated with researcher incentive packages and the translation of research into commercial use.

Visit Virginia Research Investment Fund and the Virginia Research Investment Committee for more information.

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