The Commonwealth of Virginia has long been home to a well-developed high-tech sector, due largely to the presence of key assets such as federal government agencies, military facilities, world-class academic institutions, and other resources. To strategically manage initiatives to enhance the state’s R&D competitiveness, the governor created the Virginia Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority. The Authority developed an R&D strategy roadmap to guide R&D priorities at Virginia’s academic institutions. A Commonwealth Innovation Index will be developed to track innovation progress over time.
Virginia's investments evolved out of a study by SRI for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to catalyze strategic technology areas and enhance Virginia’s R&D competitiveness.
SRI’s analysis comprised:
- A statewide and regional industry cluster analysis of Virginia’s existing base in sectors such as electronics, energy and environment, information technology, life sciences and medicine, materials and chemicals, media and design services, research and engineering services, and transportation and logistics
- Benchmarking of Virginia’s competitive foundations for high-tech development, focusing on financial, human capital, innovation resources, and innovation outcomes
- Using Geographic Information Systems technology, mapping of key innovation and high-tech assets throughout the Commonwealth
- An analysis of high-growth niches within technology-enabled industry sectors that build upon Virginia’s existing capabilities
- Best-practice case studies of state technology programs and innovation initiatives that enhance research excellence at universities, strengthen collaboration across sectors and disciplines, and promote entrepreneurship and access to capital
Building on these analytical components, the SRI team developed a series of recommended public policy initiatives to spur innovation, catalyze collaboration, and promote technology-driven growth.
SRI presented these initiatives to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Governor, and his cabinet.