Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed into law his plan to kick-start collaboration between university researchers and private industry.
Otter’s IGEM, the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission, spends $5 million to spur local innovation through research. The plan sets aside $1 million in Idaho Department of Commerce grants for start-up businesses, $2 million for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies.
Another $2 million will be split between Idaho’s three research universities.
[bill id="H 546" state=id session="2012" align=left]
The bill sailed through the legislature in just four weeks, passing both chambers virtually unopposed. The Associated Press reported some Idaho lawmakers did express concern:
“Some lawmakers have worried Otter’s initiative, which is modeled after a Utah program, meddles too much in private industry. Department of Commerce director Jeff Sayer says IGEM’s benefits may not be immediate, but he’s hopeful for its potential.” – AP
IGEM is modeled after a similarly-named program in Utah known as USTAR. Although, in Utah, as NPR recently reported, the state invested $100 million into the project.
A quick Google search finds that Gov. Otter’s IGEM is not the only one out there. iGEM (with a lowercase ‘i’) is also the acronym for an MIT spin-off non-profit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their iGEM stands for the International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation.