EDGE competition attracts 65 applications
The EDGE (Economic Development Generating Excellence) Policy Board has just received 65 pre-proposals seeking money to support new technology development for Oklahoma’s economy. Last year the Board received 94 pre-proposals and made five awards totaling $12.5 million. This year, only about $5.0 million will be available for awards, so the competition will be even greater among the current applicants.
The continuing intense interest from businesses and research organizations creates both challenges and opportunities for the second round of funding from the EDGE trust fund. “These pre-proposals are very high quality, which indicates that Oklahoma’s researchers are excellent, and also that our businesses need research results to obtain real competitive advantages in the global economy” said Dr. Paul Risser, executive director of the program
Risser said the 65 proposals clearly indicate the power of the EDGE program to foster innovation and identify technology commercialization opportunities. In addition, through this process, EDGE has brought the private sector together with the public and private research community in unprecedented ways by combining cutting-edge applied research with Oklahoma’s business opportunities.
The EDGE Policy Board uses a two-step process to identify the best proposals. In 2006, Oklahoma’s legislature invested $150 million into the planned $1 billion endowment. After reviewing the pre-proposals and with the assistance of an advisory committee, the Policy Board will invite a smaller number of the applicants to submit full proposals which will be due in September. Following more technical review, the Policy Board will select projects to receive money from the EDGE Fund.
“Oklahoma creates new wealth for its citizens when 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.” Last year EDGE funds were invested in three biotechnology companies, Hyalose, Charlesson, and OrthoCare Innovations, in one project in wind energy and an engineering project directed toward Oklahoma aerospace industry.
The Policy Board has identified eight business sectors for focus: aerospace, agriculture, biotechnology, energy, information technology/telecommunications, nanotechnology, sensors, and weather science. More information about the EDGE program can be obtained from www.okedge.org.
In 2004 Governor Henry announced the Economic Development Generating Excellence (EDGE) initiative which included the recommendation of an endowment dedicated to supporting applied research and technology commercialization that will lead to more technology-based, high-paying jobs in Oklahoma. The EDGE endowment fund is managed by a legislatively mandated board of investors who certify the amount of funds available each year to the EDGE Policy Board. In November the policy board will select winning projects and EDGE fund dollars will be invested toward building and diversifying Oklahoma’s economy.
The EDGE Policy Board membership is Gene Rainbolt, chair, Samuel Combs, Gary Derrick, Thomas Kupiec, Ken Levit, Gregory McKenzie, and Bond Payne.