Technology Development Centers
In 1984, upon the recommendation of Governor Charles Robb, the General Assembly created Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) to utilize the resources and results of the research enterprise of Virginia’s universities to create economic development and business expansion within the commonwealth. One of the programs of the CIT was to establish Technology Development Centers (TDCs) at various universities in the commonwealth. The rationale behind the TDCs was to select already excellent research centers or groups and to use CIT funding to move their research results to commercial applications. The CIT funded several of these centers at Virginia Tech:
Fiber & Electro-Optics Research Center - Founded by the CIT in 1986 to provide university research to support development of the state’s fiber-optics industry, the center performs engineering research in fiber optics, electro-optics, optical materials, thin films, and other highly advanced technologies. Since its inception, the center has developed numerous intellectual properties that have been commercialized, and it has collaborated with the Center for Transportation Research on the communications network for the Smart Road. The center has worked with more than 250 Virginia companies and provided the impetus for 18 spin-off firms.
Virginia Power Electronics Center - Funded by the CIT in 1987, the center conducts research in the design, performance, and fabrication of power electronic systems for a wide spectrum of industrial applications. In 1998, the center evolved into the multi-university National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Power Electronics Systems (see under NSF Engineering Research Center).
Center for Coal and Minerals Processing - Initiated in 1988 by the CIT, the center conducts research and develops processing technology for clean coal production.
Center for Advanced Ceramic Materials - Established in 1989 by the CIT, the center does research on ceramic materials for industrial and commercial applications.
Center for Biobased Materials - Initiated in 1990 by the CIT, the center explores technologies for converting natural materials, principally wood products, into advanced polymer and composite materials.
Center for Wireless Telecommunications - Organized in 1993, the center helps businesses develop new products and services and provides a learning environment to prepare graduate students for jobs in wireless communications.
Internet Technology Innovation Center - Formed in 1998 as a university center with funding from the CIT, the center nurtures Virginia’s entrepreneurial environment for information technology and Internet-based businesses; accelerates the creation and deployment of network-based information technology; develops hardware/software infrastructure; and expands Virginia’s high-skill workforce needed to develop, support, and market Internet-based electronic products and services. It also interacts with existing companies and entrepreneurs who are seeking to provide or develop products and/or services for Internet delivery. The center is a partnership among 11 research groups at four Virginia universities.