Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 23.1. Institutions of Higher Education; Other Educational and Cultural Institutions
1/17/2020

Article 8. Virginia Research Investment Committee.

§ 23.1-3130. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Board" means the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board established pursuant to § 2.2-2485.

"Board of Trustees" means the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Retirement System established pursuant to § 51.1-124.20.

"Committee" means the Virginia Research Investment Committee established pursuant to § 23.1-3132.

"Fund" means the Virginia Research Investment Fund established in § 23.1-3131.

"Roadmap" means the Commonwealth Research and Technology Strategic Roadmap developed pursuant to § 23.1-3134.

2016, c. 775, § 23-304; 2017, cc. 796, 816.

§ 23.1-3131. Virginia Research Investment Fund.

A. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting revolving fund to be known as the Virginia Research Investment Fund. The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All moneys appropriated by the General Assembly for the Fund, and from any other sources public or private, shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the 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.

B. 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the General Assembly may specifically designate that certain moneys appropriated to the Fund be invested, reinvested, and managed by the Board of Trustees as provided in § 51.1-124.38. The State Treasurer shall not be held liable for losses suffered by the Virginia Retirement System on investments made under the authority of this subsection.

2. No more than $4 million of moneys so invested, net of any administrative fee assessed pursuant to subsection E of § 51.1-124.38, may be awarded through grants or loans in a fiscal year for any purpose permitted by this article. At the direction of the Committee, the State Comptroller may annually request a disbursement of $4 million from the moneys invested by the Board of Trustees, to be held with other moneys in the Fund not subject to such investment. At the end of each fiscal year, if less than $4 million of such annual allocation is awarded as grants or loans in a calendar year, the Comptroller shall return the remainder of the annual $4 million allocation to the Board of Trustees for reinvestment pursuant to § 51.1-124.38.

3. Any loans awarded pursuant to this article shall be paid by the Comptroller from the $4 million annual allocation set forth in subdivision 2. The recipient of a loan shall repay the loan pursuant to the terms set forth by the Committee. At the end of each fiscal year, the Comptroller shall return any repayments received from loan recipients to the Board of Trustees for reinvestment pursuant to § 51.1-124.38.

C. 1. Moneys in the Fund shall be used primarily 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.

2. Grants and loans from the Fund for innovative research, development, and commercialization efforts, projects, and programs shall (i) be awarded in areas of focus identified in the Roadmap and shall include the biosciences, personalized medicine, cybersecurity, data analytics, and other areas designated in the general appropriation act; (ii) be awarded solely to public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth or collaborations between the public institutions of higher education and private entities; and (iii) require a match of funds at least equal to the amount awarded.

3. Moneys in the Fund may be used to pay administrative fees assessed by the Board of Trustees for its services in investing Fund moneys pursuant to § 51.1-124.38.

D. The disbursement of grants and loans, and the payment of administrative costs and service fees, from the Fund shall be made by the State Comptroller at the written request of the Committee.

2016, c. 775, § 23-305; 2017, cc. 314, 796, 816.

§ 23.1-3132. Virginia Research Investment Committee; report.

A. There is hereby established the Virginia Research Investment Committee to (i) promote research and development excellence in the Commonwealth; (ii) provide guidance, and coordination as deemed necessary, to existent efforts to support research in the Commonwealth with commercial potential; (iii) approve the Roadmap; and (iv) evaluate and award grants and loans from the Fund pursuant to the provisions of this article.

B. The Committee shall consist of the Director of the Council, the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, the Secretary of Finance, and the staff directors of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance, all of whom shall serve ex officio with voting privileges, and four nonlegislative citizen members of the Board to be appointed as follows: one appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates, one appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and two appointed by the Governor.

C. Ex officio members shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office. Board members shall serve terms coincident with their terms on the Board. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.

D. The Director of the Council shall serve as the chairman of the Committee.

E. The Committee shall report to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance no later than November 1 of each year. The report shall include details about awards made from the Fund in the immediately preceding fiscal year and updates on the research, development, and commercialization efforts resulting from such awards.

2016, c. 775, § 23-306; 2017, cc. 796, 816; 2018, c. 332.

§ 23.1-3133. Award from Virginia Research Investment Fund.

A. 1. The Council, in consultation with the Committee, shall establish the initial guidelines, procedures, and criteria for (i) the application for grants and loans from the Fund; (ii) the review, certification of scientific merits, and scoring or prioritization of applications for grants and loans from the Fund; and (iii) the evaluation and award by the Committee of grants and loans from the Fund. After the adoption of the initial guidelines, procedures, and criteria, the Committee shall be responsible for maintaining, administering, updating, and approving the guidelines, procedures, and criteria, with the assistance of staff of the Council.

2. Such guidelines, procedures, and criteria, and any updates thereto, shall be submitted to the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Finance.

B. The guidelines, procedures, and criteria shall include, but not be limited to, requirements that applicants demonstrate and that the reviewers and the Committee 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; and

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 viable bioscience, biotechnology, cybersecurity, genomics, or similar 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 Roadmap; (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.

C. Upon establishment or update of the guidelines, procedures, and criteria, the Committee shall (i) announce publicly these policies and principles, (ii) open and initiate the application process, and (iii) receive applications for grants and loans from the Fund in accordance with the procedures developed pursuant to subsection B.

D. Upon confirmation that an application is complete, the staff of the Council shall forward the application 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. Such entities include the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority, the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine, or any other entity deemed appropriate by the Council, including a scientific advisory committee created by the Council for the sole purpose of reviewing one or more applications received pursuant to this article.

E. Upon an application receiving a favorable evaluation pursuant to subsection D, the Council shall forward the application, along with the scoring or prioritization, to the Committee for further review and a decision whether to award a grant or loan from the Fund.

F. 1. Upon receipt of a reviewed application, the Committee shall evaluate the application in accordance with the criteria developed in subsection B, taking into account the review, scoring, or prioritization received in accordance with subsection D. The Committee shall then decide whether to approve the application for an award of a grant or loan from the Fund.

2. The award of a grant or loan from the Fund shall be subject to any terms and conditions set forth by the Committee for the award.

3. All decisions by the Committee shall be final and not subject to further review or appeal.

4. The Governor may announce any award approved by the Committee.

2016, c. 775, § 23-307; 2017, cc. 314, 796, 816.

§ 23.1-3134. Commonwealth Research and Technology Strategic Roadmap.

A. The Committee shall approve a Commonwealth Research and Technology Strategic Roadmap, a comprehensive research and technology strategic roadmap for the Commonwealth to identify research areas worthy of economic development and institutional focus. The goal of the Roadmap shall be to develop a cohesive and comprehensive framework through which to encourage collaboration between the Commonwealth's institutions of higher education, private sector industries, and economic development entities in order to focus on the complete life cycle of research, development, and commercialization. The framework shall serve as a means to (i) identify the Commonwealth's key industry sectors in which investments in technology should be made by the Commonwealth; (ii) identify basic and applied research opportunities in these sectors that exhibit commercial promise; (iii) encourage commercialization and economic development activities in the Commonwealth in these sectors; and (iv) help ensure that all investments of public funds in the Commonwealth in basic and applied research are made prudently in focused areas for projects with significant potential for commercialization and economic growth in the Commonwealth.

B. The Roadmap shall be used to determine areas of focus for awards by the Committee from the Fund and by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority from the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund established pursuant to § 2.2-2233.1. Awards from such funds may be made for research activities related to areas of focus other than those identified in the Roadmap only upon a written finding by the respective awarding entity that it is in the Commonwealth's best interest to deviate from the areas set forth in the Roadmap.

C. The Council shall develop the Roadmap and submit it to the Committee for review and approval. In developing the Roadmap, the Council shall select and oversee a panel of independent experts who shall:

1. Consult with the chief research officers at public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth regarding the strategic plan for each institution in order to identify common themes;

2. Consult with public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and any other entity deemed relevant to catalog the Commonwealth's assets in order to identify the areas of research and development in which the Commonwealth has a great likelihood of excelling in applied research and commercialization;

3. Make recommendations for the alignment of research and development and economic growth in the Commonwealth, identifying the industry sectors in which the Commonwealth should focus its research, development, investment, and economic development efforts;

4. Establish a process for maintaining an inventory of the Commonwealth's current research and development endeavors in both the public and private sectors that can be used to attract research and commercialization excellence in the Commonwealth;

5. Make recommendations to the Six-Year Capital Outlay Plan Advisory Committee established pursuant to § 2.2-1516 regarding capital construction needs at public institutions of higher education necessary to excel in basic and applied research in identified industry sectors; and

6. Solicit feedback from the Committee, the Research and Technology Investment Advisory Committee; public and private institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth; members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; members of the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine; federal research and development assets in the Commonwealth; regional technology councils in the Commonwealth; the Virginia Economic Development Partnership; the Board; and the private sector.

In selecting the panel of experts pursuant to this subsection, the Council shall ensure that no individuals on the panel are involved, nor have been involved within the past three years, with the application, review, or award process governed by § 2.2-2233.1 or 23.1-3133.

D. The Council shall review the Roadmap and make recommendations regarding its update at least once every three years. Such recommended updates shall be submitted to the Committee for review and approval.

E. The Committee shall submit a draft of the Roadmap to the Governor and the Chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the Joint Commission on Technology and Science at least 30 days prior to Committee voting to approve the Roadmap or any subsequent updates. The Committee shall submit the Roadmap and any subsequent updates approved by it to the Governor for final approval. Unless the Governor returns such submissions to the Committee within 30 days of receipt with specific directions for changes or revisions, the Roadmap or updates shall be deemed approved and ready for implementation. Upon final approval, the Committee shall submit the approved Roadmap, and any subsequent updates, to the Chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the Joint Commission on Technology and Science.

2017, cc. 796, 816.

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