Legislature funds signature research centers, RAIN

The Oregon State Legislature adjourned Sine Die on July 8. It approved HB 5028, the budget for Business Oregon.  The bill included funding for the Oregon Innovation Council (Oregon InC), the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN), and the University Venture Development Fund (UVDF).

Oregon InC: The Legislature approved $19,400,000 in Lottery Funds for seven Oregon InC initiatives in the Business Oregon budget for the 2013-15 biennium:

  • Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI) - $6,100,000
  • Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI) - $2,000,000
  • Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center (BEST) - $6,000,000
  • Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) - $2,000,000
  • Drive Oregon - $1,500,000
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems Center of Excellence - $900,000
  • Oregon Story Board - $900,000

RAIN: The Legislature also approved $1.25 million in operations funds for the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN), and recommended to the Capital Construction Committee $2.5 million in XI-Q funding for the project. UO Vice President for Research and Innovation Kimberly Espy offered testimony on several occasions on the proposal in a collaborative effort with the cities of Eugene, Corvallis, Albany and Springfield; Lane County; and Regional Solutions partners.

University Venture Development Fund (UVDF):  The House Revenue Committee voted to amend a key revenue package, HB 3367, to add a “tail” to the University Venture Development Fund tax credit, which is set to expire in 2016.  The Legislature passed the bill as amended.  The UVDF provides a tax credit for donors who choose to support the commercialization of promising university discoveries and campus-based entrepreneurial education. Donors provide capital to the universities, which then choose to provide funding to promising translational projects and start-ups. The tail will allow contributors to the fund to take advantage of the tax credit for the full term of 3 years even after the credit has expired.