Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 22. Authorities

§ 2.2-2359. Division of Commercialization.

A. Within the Authority shall be created a Division of Commercialization (the Division). The Division shall (i) promote research and development excellence in the Commonwealth; (ii) provide guidance and coordination, as deemed necessary, to existing efforts to support research in the Commonwealth with commercial potential; (iii) review and advise on the Index; (iv) administer the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (the Fund); and (v) perform any other duties or responsibilities assigned by the Board.

B. The Division shall be advised by an Advisory Committee on Commercialization (the Advisory Committee), to be appointed by the Board. The Board shall consider including at least one representative from a major public research institution of higher education located outside of the Commonwealth and at least one representative from a public institution of higher education located within the Commonwealth.

C. The Division, in consultation with the Advisory Committee and subject to approval of the Board, shall develop guidelines, procedures, and criteria for the (i) application for grants and loans from the Fund; (ii) review, certification of scientific merits, and scoring or prioritization of applications for grants and loans from the Fund; and (iii) evaluation and recommendation to the Authority regarding the award of grants and loans from the Fund. The guidelines, procedures, and criteria shall include requirements that applicants demonstrate and the Authority consider:

1. Other grants, awards, loans, or funds awarded to the proposed program or project by the Commonwealth;

2. Other applications from the applicant for state grants, awards, loans, or funds currently pending at the time of the application;

3. The potential of the program or project for which a grant or loan is sought to (i) culminate in the commercialization of research; (ii) culminate in the formation or spin-off of technology-based companies; (iii) promote the build-out of scientific areas of expertise in science and technology; (iv) promote applied research and development in the areas of focus identified in the Index; (v) provide modern facilities or infrastructure for research and development; (vi) result in significant capital investment and job creation; or (vii) promote collaboration among the public institutions of higher education.

D. The Division may forward any application for a grant or loan from the Fund to an entity with recognized science and technology expertise for a review and certification of the scientific merits of the proposal, including a scoring or prioritization of applicant programs and projects deemed viable by the reviewing entity.

E. 1. There is hereby created a permanent fund to be known as the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund. Interest and other income earned on the Fund shall be credited to the Fund. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest and other income thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund, which may consist of grants or loans, shall be made upon authorization of the president, chairman, or vice-chairman of the Authority.

2. Awards from the Fund shall be made pursuant to the guidelines developed by the Division and approved by the Board.

3. Moneys in the Fund shall be used for grants and loans to (i) foster innovative and collaborative research, development, and commercialization efforts in the Commonwealth in projects and programs with a high potential for economic development and job creation opportunities; (ii) position the Commonwealth as a national leader in science-based and technology-based research, development, and commercialization; (iii) attract and effectively recruit and retain eminent researchers to enhance research superiority at public institutions of higher education; and (iv) encourage cooperation and collaboration among public institutions of higher education, and with the private sector, in areas and with activities that foster economic development and job creation in the Commonwealth. Grants and loans from the Fund shall be made to applications that further the goals set forth in the Virginia Innovation Index.

4. Awards from the Fund shall require a match of funds at least equal to the amount awarded.

F. The Division, by December 1, 2020, and annually by December 1 each year thereafter, in consultation with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the Board, shall make recommendations regarding oversight of initiatives or Commonwealth centers of excellence related to technology-based or innovation-based economic development. Initiatives and Commonwealth centers of excellence subject to such recommendations include (i) those that engage in commercialization of university research, (ii) technology-driven industries such as unmanned systems, (iii) advanced innovation concepts such as smart community technologies, and (iv) technology-based entrepreneurial activity. Recommendations to evaluate and measure current and future initiatives shall be developed in alignment with the Index to assist the Governor and General Assembly in determining appropriate initiatives to pursue while preventing the establishment of redundant activities.

G. Institutions of higher education may choose to coordinate with the Division and participate in projects using moneys granted or loaned from the Fund. The Division shall coordinate with participating institutions of higher education technology transfer officers and vice-presidents of research and innovation to advance founder-friendly policies throughout the Commonwealth. The results of such partnerships may include the establishment of a central Commonwealth-run technology transfer office and founder-friendly terms for optional use; the creation of an inventory library of statewide available technologies and intellectual property; the support and strengthening of existing technology transfer offices, with focus on the need for proof of concept funds; and the development of commercialization advancement plans.

H. The Division may coordinate with public institutions of higher education, technology transfer offices, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and the Office of the Attorney General to identify the allowable uses of buildings owned by public institutions of higher education for research-led spin-off companies and student commercial initiatives that originate at public institutions of higher education. The Division and its partners shall take official notice of the fact that no general prohibition exists in the acts of assembly or the Code that generally prohibits such use, but that limitations may exist on a case-by-case basis that may prohibit the use of a particular building, facility, or piece of equipment for the purposes set forth in this subsection.

2020, cc. 1164, 1169.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.