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S.C. schools receive $6.7M for innovation projects

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Academic institutions, industry partners and the S.C. Research Authority see a pressing need in the development of the state’s next generation innovation economy: funding at the college and university level.

The SCRA has allocated $3.3 million to third-level institutions across the state for translational research projects addressing challenges facing the state’s industrial base through the organization’s Academia Collaboration Team, according to a news release. 

The SCRA Academia Collaboration program was designed to connect multi-institutional academic teams to industry leaders to foster engagement, advance technological innovation and bolster the creation of South Carolina-based jobs, according to the news release.

Following SCRA’s announcement, academic institutions and private industries are following suit with matching grants totaling $6.7 million.

“We are fortunate to have high quality research and development being conducted at our state’s colleges and universities,” SCRA Executive Director Bob Quinn said in the release. “Many of the technologies on which they are working today will produce the new companies of tomorrow. It’s an honor for SCRA to support these collaborations.” 

The University of South Carolina will receive $1.2 million for the school’s factory-to-factory networking program in partnership with Clemson UniversityGreenville Technical College and Midlands Technical College.

USC is also partnering with Clemson University, along with the Medical University of South CarolinaSouth Carolina State University, Greenville Technical College and Trident Technical College, on an Industry 4.0 development project that received $1.8 million from SCRA, according to the release.

Francis Marion University, in partnership with The Citadel, will receive $305,000 to help the schools improve workforce development and readiness in the state.

“I’m energized by the opportunities and positive outcomes from this intersection of academic research, entrepreneurship and industry in the state,” SCRA Program Manager Kella Player said in the release. “These collaborations provide the greatest potential for innovation, economic growth and overall advancement of the region.” 

SCRA’s program directors and industry advisors will review the progress on these Academia Collaboration Team research projects on an ongoing basis, according to the release, and funds will be provided in stages as milestones are met. 

Since 2018, state Academia Collaboration Team grants have funded 17 collaborations among South Carolina-based academic institutions and 41 industry partners. Those projects have produced an 8:1 multiple in additional funding from other sources such as industry and the federal government. 

SCRA grants are funded in part by the Industry Partnership Fund financed by South Carolina businesses and individuals who receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for investing in the state’s innovation economy.  

Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1223.

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