SSTI Presents Awards of Excellence to Six Organizations Improving the Nation's Competitiveness

    BALTIMORE, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a national competition to
 showcase best practices in approaches to building tech-based economies, the
 State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) announced today the
 recipients of the first annual Excellence in TBED Awards.
     Designed to celebrate exceptional achievement in addressing the
 elements that have been found in successful technology-based economies, the
 awards program recognizes efforts to improve state and regional economies
 through science, technology, and innovation.
     "Successful tech-based economies have strong research infrastructure,
 ability to commercialize research, access to capital, a skilled workforce,
 and an entrepreneurial culture," said SSTI President and CEO, Dan Berglund.
 "They also encourage existing industries to become more competitive. These
 initiatives demonstrate the successful approaches that are being taken
 across the country."
     The 2007 Excellence in TBED Award winners were honored today at the
 Awards luncheon during SSTI's 11th Annual Conference in Baltimore. They
     -- Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholars(R) - Expanding the Research
        Infrastructure Category
        The purpose of the GRA Eminent Scholars program is to bring pre-eminent
        scientists to Georgia's research universities and provide them with the
        tools they need to lead R&D programs with the greatest potential for
        generating significant economic gains for Georgia. To date, the program
        has recruited 57 Eminent Scholars to GRA's university partners. These
        Eminent Scholars have attracted more than $350 million in federal,
        foundation and corporate research funding, fostered and led 20 centers
        of research excellence, and spun out more than 20 new technology start-
        up companies from their research and research centers.
     -- Georgia Research Alliance VentureLab - Commercializing Research
        Launched in 2002, VentureLab currently operates at five of Georgia
        Research Alliance's (GRA) partner universities, seeking out university-
        based research innovations, assessing their commercial potential and
        providing resources to form new ventures. Seed grants are awarded to
        universities and early-stage companies. GRA investment in VentureLab
        grants through 2006 totaled $6.5 million, with 73
        discoveries/technologies funded and 52 companies formed.
     -- Technology 2020 - Building Entrepreneurial Capacity Category
        Founded in 1995, Technology 2020 is a public-private partnership whose
        mission is to grow new businesses and high quality jobs by capitalizing
        on the unique technology resources of the Technology Valley Corridor.
        Technology 2020 has established a comprehensive entrepreneurial support
        system which has provided assistance to more than 160 start-up
        companies in the region. These client companies now employ more than
        1,800 people at salaries nearly double the regional average and account
        for $114 million in payroll annually in the Tennessee Valley Corridor.
     -- Connecticut Innovations Eli Whitney Fund - Increasing Access to Capital
        Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-public organization, created the Eli
        Whitney Fund to help Connecticut-based, entrepreneurial, technology-
        oriented companies grow by providing funding at the earliest stages in
        a company's life cycle - when it is most needed.  Investments typically
        range from $250,000 to $1 million. Since 1995, Connecticut Innovations
        has invested over $100 million to support R&D and marketing efforts in
        more than 60 companies, leveraging more than $1 billion of additional
        investment into Connecticut from private investors. Additionally,
        Connecticut Innovations has generated more than $500 million in Gross
        State Product and more than 5,000 additional job-years in the state.
     -- Virginia Council on Advanced Technology Skills - Enhancing the Science
        & Technology Workforce Category
        A joint initiative of the Virginia Biotechnology Association and the
        Virginia Manufacturers Association, the Virginia Council on Advanced
        Technology Skills (VCATS) is an alliance of employers and economic
        development partners created to address the challenge of ensuring a
        quality workforce for Virginia's technology-based industries. The
        employer-led effort is a statewide competency-based program that works
        with a variety of partners to address a broad spectrum of related
        services, including activities to raise awareness for key manufacturing
        jobs, provide targeted screening and recruitment, and conduct employer-
        designed training. The effort also focuses on scale and replication
        with expansion to 10-20 sites across Virginia.
     -- Maryland Industrial Partnerships - Improving Competitiveness of
        Existing Industries Category
        The MTECH Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program (MIPS), an
        initiative of the A. James Clark School of Engineering's Maryland
        Technology Enterprise Institute, brings university innovation to the
        commercial sector by supporting university-based research projects to
        help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. Since 1987,
        the MIPS Program has worked to promote the commercialization of new
        technologies and create partnerships between the University System of
        Maryland and Maryland businesses. Since its inception, MIPS has
        provided matching funds for more than 577 projects worth a total value
        of $152 million in R&D expenditures, resulting in sales of MIPS-related
        products of over $12 billion.
     "These six programs represent best practices and illustrate the
 essential role of science and technology in fostering a climate conducive
 to innovation," said Berglund. "The proven success stories from this year's
 selected winners should be viewed as role models for peer practitioners."
     Applicants were asked to provide a narrative outlining specific
 information about their initiative, including demonstrable results. SSTI
 received a number of high-quality proposals addressing the crucial needs of
 U.S. businesses to compete in a global economy. Winning initiatives were
 selected through a competitive process by committees of accomplished TBED
 practitioners and policymakers serving as judges.
     About SSTI
     The State Science Technology Institute is a national nonprofit
 organization that leads, supports and strengthens efforts to improve state
 and regional economies through science, technology and innovation.
     Contact: Rhiannon Mehring
     State Science and Technology Institute

SOURCE State Science and Technology Institute

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