Centers of Excellence seeks funds in Utah

The director of the state’s Centers of Excellence program, a bridge between university research and the private sector, said Thursday she would like to see the program’s budget grow more than three-fold.

Nicole Toomey Davis, director of the Centers program for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, told the Utah Technology Commission that she has an "aspirational budget" of $10 million for the 2006-07 fiscal year. This year’s budget was $3 million.

"With $10 million, we would roughly double the number of centers," she said.

During the past five years, the program has received an average of $2.17 million per year in state funding but provided a 3.8-to-1 return on investment through increases in personal income taxes, she said.

Davis noted that Utah has 5,800 research professors, but the program typically supports about 21 of them per year.

By Brice Wallace
Deseret Morning News

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