STAC Named 2008 Rhode Island Innovation Champion
Published on September 11, 2008
The Providence Business News has named the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council the 2008 Rhode Island Innovation Champion, as part of the PBN/Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation Innovation Awards.
Launched in 2006, the Innovation Awards, presented by the Providence Business News in partnership with the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and Tech Collective, and sponsored by Cox Business, are designed to honor Rhode Island-based companies, organizations and individuals that constantly replace existing methods, models and products with better ones.
Since its formation, STAC has initiated a number of key projects to help meet its goal to make innovation central to the state's leadership agenda including the creation of a URI Commission on Research and Innovation, implementation of an Innovation Tax Credit and the launch of the Rhode Island Research Alliance.
"STAC works to make innovation a leadership priority in Rhode Island," says STAC co-chair Jeffrey Seemann. "With its annual recommendations and strategic programming, STAC's mission to recommend and implement steps that Rhode Island can take to strengthen its innovation infrastructure and enable more organizations to compete globally has the potential to make the state an innovation leader once again."
In addition to receiving special recognition at this year's celebration on September 18 at the Kirkbrae Country Club, STAC will also be featured in a special issue of the Providence Business News
Three of STAC's core programs contributed to the council's success as an innovation leader, or "champion:"
Rhode Island Research Alliance
STAC created the RI Research Alliance in 2006 to create a statewide platform to promote collaboration across the state's research organizations, increase our competitiveness for federal funding and support efforts such as the EPSCoR, COBRE and INBRE networks.
The alliance's first initiative was the creation of the Collaborative Grants program to support catalytic, inter-organizational collaborative research projects that are well positioned to attract substantial follow-on investment and/or have significant potential for technology development and commercialization.
In 2008, STAC expanded the alliance. With catalytic investments from Brown University and the University of Rhode Island, the Alliance has embarked on a new effort to assess collaborative research opportunities, begin assisting with the preparation of collaborative proposals to major funding agencies such as the NSF and NIH and support the development and marketing of joint and shared laboratory facilities.
URI Commission for Research and Innovation
In 2006, STAC called for the creation of a blue ribbon commission to propose specific actions to strengthen the University of Rhode Island's position as a nationally competitive public research university and as a key driver in the state's efforts to build an innovation economy. In response to this recommendation, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed, and Governor Donald Carcieri signed into law, legislation creating a commission to recommend specific actions to strengthen URI's research capacity.
The commission is specifically charged with making recommendations for how the university can: 1) Grow the size, significance and competitiveness of its R&D programs; 2) Produce a larger, better trained and more science and technology oriented workforce; and 3) Increase the levels of both industry involvement in its research programs and technology transfer/commercialization activities.
Innovation Tax Credit
The Innovation Tax Credit, proposed by STAC in 2006 and launched in 2007, is designed to attract and retain serial entrepreneurs and stimulate economic growth in high-wage, high-growth industries. In addition to being tested against a set of base eligibility requirements, applications for the credit are evaluated on how well the project supports a culture of entrepreneurship and how important the business's plan is to advancing an innovation economy. The Innovation Tax credit is managed by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation.
The tax credit offers investors up to a 50 percent credit on eligible investments, with a maximum tax credit of $100,000. To be eligible to apply for the credit, an investor must invest in a Rhode Island business that produces traded goods or services and has annual gross revenues of less than $1 million in the prior two calendar years. Companies must be categorized as one of the following innovation industries: biotechnology and life sciences; communication and information technology; financial services; marine and defense manufacturing; professional, technical and educational services; industrial and consumer product manufacturing and design.