VCU is a university on the move. And that move is powered by research.
Most notably, in fiscal year 2022 year we are expected to reach an institutional record, marking more than $400 million in sponsored research from government agencies and outside organizations. That’s a 47% increase over the last five years, and showcases a university with growing national distinction.
And this summer, the U.S. Economic Development Administration said it would give nearly $53 million to a coalition of public and private sector stakeholders in the Richmond-Petersburg region, including VCU. This coalition, the Alliance for Building Better Medicine, is developing an advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing and research and development cluster here, centered in the Virginia Bio+Tech park (where our headquarters is located). The goal: address the nation’s pressing need for quality, affordable, essential medicines. With additional funds, the total pool to create this pharmaceutical cluster is more than $66.5 million.
The world is watching, too: this month, VCU was ranked among the 30 most innovative public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. So what does all this movement mean for our technology-transfer team?
In a word: Collaboration. With industry leaders as collaborative partners, we can ensure VCU researchers are spending time generating transformative intellectual property that people actually need to enrich their lives, optimize health, support more sustainable environments, and create a more just and equitable society.
Our hope is these moves support a critical mass of companies and entrepreneurs working in biotech and life sciences in the Richmond and Tri-Cities region, and inspire others to move here. At VCU Innovation Gateway, it is our responsibility to provide those organizations with opportunities to engage, collaborate, and give them the support they need to grow and construct an innovation ecosystem that accelerates commercialization in Central Virginia.
Finally, our own efforts to create startups from university-created IP are paying off, too. This year, we have founded 10 new startups based on VCU inventions. Now we are working on finding business leaders with experience who can partner with our inventors to help these startups grow. If you are, or you know of, an entrepreneur who is capable of commercializing our most promising IP, reach out to me. Enjoy this issue of Launchpad.
Ivelina Metcheva, Ph.D., MBA
Assistant Vice President for Innovation
VCU Innovation Gateway