EDGE Endowment Fund to Stimulate Economic Growth
The Economic Development Generating Excellence (EDGE) initiative consists of an $150 million endowment dedicated to supporting applied research and technology commercialization that will lead to more technology-based, high-paying jobs in Oklahoma. In November the EDGE (Economic Development Generating Excellence Board) Policy Board approved five projects totaling more than $10.4 million – the first in what is expected to be an annual event to stimulate Oklahoma’s economy.
Former chancellor for the State Board of Regents, Paul Risser, Ph.D., said the action is a milestone in expanding Oklahoma’s technology-based economy. “This action, coupled with other economic development efforts in the state, tells the world that Oklahoma is in the running for business development,” said Risser, who now serves as executive director of the EDGE Policy Board. “We should look much more attractive to businesses who seek an atmosphere conducive to growth.”
Earnings from the $150 million EDGE Fund endowment, approved by the state legislature in 2006, are used to fund the projects. The areas of investment included the following: aerospace, agriculture, biotechnology, energy and weather science.
“Oklahoma only creates new wealth for its citizens if there is a net inflow of dollars from outside the state,” said Risser. “Dollars flow into Oklahoma as researchers create technologies that are sought by out-of-state buyers or as businesses use the latest technologies to produce and market Oklahoma’s valuable goods and services. All these processes are driven by innovative technologies, and innovative technologies are produced by applied research.”
Selection of these five winning proposals followed an extensive evaluation process. Ninety-four pre-proposals were evaluated by the policy board and its nation-wide advisory committee. Eighteen proposals were reviewed by technical experts and the advisory committee who recommended the five final proposals to the policy board.
The five projects with funding for two years are:
Oklahoma glyco-manufacturing facility: going global with Next-gen sugar-based therapeutics -Two companies, Hyalose and Cytovance Biologics will produce sugar-based therapeutics for evaluation, sale and licensing. (Paul DeAngelis, principal investigator, Hyalose LLC and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center).
Funding Year 1: $687,609 Funding Year 2: $550,002
Nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration - The Charlesson company will develop and produce nanoparticle-mediated drugs for injection into the eye to treat macular degeneration and other eye diseases. (Jian-xing Ma, principal investigator, Charlesson LLC).
Funding Year 1: $1,382,234 Funding Year 2: 1,498,797
Restored education, science and technology for orthopedic rehabilitation and economic development (RESTORED) - Ortho Care Innovations will develop the Limb Restoration Institute and large manufacturing capacity to produce advanced prosthetic devices. (David Boone, principal investigator, Ortho Care Innovations LLC).
Funding Year 1: $800,000 Funding Year 2: $800,000
The renewable EDGE - The project will assist the wind energy industry in Oklahoma and elsewhere by producing high-precision wind power assessments and forecasts in a highly integrated information system. (J. Scott Green, principal investigator, University of Oklahoma).
Funding Year 1: $996,395 Funding Year 2: $753, 424
Shape engineering toward advanced manufacturing (SEAM) - By using innovative hardware and software, the project will offer advanced testing and manufacturing of replacement parts to military aviation and the commercial aerospace industry. (Shivakumar Raman, principal investigator, University of Oklahoma).
Funding Year 1: $1,500,000 Funding Year 2: $1,500,000