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42 U.S. Code § 19108 - Regional Innovation Engines

(a) In general

From amounts made available to the Directorate, the Director shall make awards to eligible entities for the planning, establishment, and support of Regional Innovation Engines.

(b) PurposeThe purpose of the Regional Innovation Engines shall be to—
advance multidisciplinary, collaborative, use-inspired and translational research, technology development, in key technology focus areas;
address regional, national, societal, or geostrategic challenges;
leverage the expertise of multi-disciplinary and multi-sector partners, including partners from private industry, nonprofit organizations, and civil society organizations; and
support the development of scientific, innovation, entrepreneurial, and STEM educational capacity within the region of the Regional Innovation Engine to grow and sustain regional innovation.
(c) Uses of fundsFunds awarded under this section may be used by a Regional Innovation Engine to—
conduct use-inspired and translational research and technology development to advance innovation in at least one of the key technology focus areas and to help solve a compelling regional, national, societal, or geostrategic challenge;
further the development, adoption, and commercialization of innovations in key technology focus areas, including through support for proof-of-concept development, and through partnership with other Federal agencies and Federal laboratories, industry, including startup companies, labor organizations, civil society organizations, and State, territorial, local, and Tribal governments;
develop and manage, or facilitate access to, test beds and instrumentation, which may include fabrication facilities and cyberinfrastructure, to advance the development, integration, and demonstration of new, innovative technologies, including hardware or software;
establish traineeship programs for graduate students who pursue degrees and research related to the key technology focus areas leading to a masters or doctorate degree by providing funding and other assistance, and opportunities for research experiences in government or industry related to the students’ studies;
engage in outreach and engagement in the region to broaden participation in the activities of the Regional Innovation Engine; and
reimburse, in part or in whole, the cost of instrumentation, technology transfer, and commercialization activities, including patenting and licensing, and for operations and staff, as the Director determines appropriate.
(d) Selection processIn making awards under this part, the Director shall consider, in addition to the scientific and technical merit of the proposal, the extent to which the activities and locations proposed—
have the potential to create an innovation ecosystem, or enhance existing ecosystems and contribute to job creation in a region;
demonstrate a capacity to engage and partner with multiple types of institutions of higher education, industry, labor, nonprofit organizations, civil society organizations, other Federal agencies, Federal laboratories, State, local, and Tribal governments, and other appropriate organizations, including to inform research directions and account for ethical, societal, safety, and security implications relevant to the potential applications of the research;
demonstrate a capacity to broaden participation of populations historically underrepresented in STEM in the activities of the Regional Innovation Engine; and
demonstrate a plan and capability to prevent the inappropriate use or dissemination of the research and technology, including research results, data, and intellectual property, as appropriate and consistent with the requirements of the relevant award.
(e) Requirements
(1) Eligibility

For the purposes of this section, an “eligible entity” means an institution of higher education, a nonprofit organization, a private sector entity, or a consortium thereof.

(2) PartnershipsTo be eligible for an award under this section an eligible entity
(A) shall include in its proposal partnership with 1 or more institution that is—
a historically Black college or university;
a community college;
(B) may include partnership with 1 or more—
additional entities described in paragraph (2)(A);
industry entities, including startups, small businesses, and public-private partnerships;
economic development organizations or venture development organizations, as such terms are defined in section 3722a(a) of title 15, as added by section 10621 of this division;
National Laboratories;
Federal laboratories, as defined in section 3703 of title 15;
Federal research facilities;
entities described in paragraph (1) or (2) from allied or partner countries;
other entities to be vital to the success of the program, as determined by the Director;
binational research and development foundations and funds, excluding those affiliated with foreign entities of concern, as defined in section 19221 of this title; and
Engineer Research and Development Center laboratories of the Army Corps of Engineers; and
(C) shall include as part of its proposal a plan for—
establishing a sustained partnership that is jointly developed and managed, draws from the capacities of each institution, and is mutually beneficial; and
documents governance and management plans, financial contributions from non-Federal sources, and plans for ownership and use of any intellectual property.
(3) Promoting partnerships

In making awards under this section, the Director shall encourage applicants for a Regional Innovation Engine that include multiple regional partners as described in subsection (e)(2).

(4) Geographic distribution

In making awards under this section, the Director shall take into consideration the extent to which the proposals expand the geographic distribution of the Regional Innovation Engines, including by giving special consideration to rural-serving institutions of higher education.

(5) Resource availabilityThe Director shall ensure that any eligible entity receiving an award under this section shall—
provide information on relevant currently existing resources available to the proposing team from all internal and external sources, including all partner organizations; and
include letters of collaboration from partner organizations that include information on resource contributions committed by such partners.
(f) Collaboration with regional technology hubs

Each Regional Innovation Engine established under this section may collaborate and participate in, as appropriate, the activities of any regional technology hub designated under section 3722a of title 15, as added by section 10621.

(g) Duration
(1) Initial period

An award under this section shall be for an initial period of 5 years.

(2) Renewal

An established Regional Innovation Engine may apply for, and the Director may award, extended funding for periods of 5 years on a merit-reviewed basis.

(h) Competitive, merit-reviewIn making awards under this section, the Director shall—
use a competitive, merit review process that includes peer review by a diverse group of individuals with relevant expertise from both the private and public sectors; and
ensure the focus areas of the Regional Innovation Engines do not substantially and unnecessarily duplicate the efforts of any other Regional Innovation Engine or any other similar effort at another Federal agency.
(i) Collaboration

In making awards under this section, the Director may collaborate with Federal departments and agencies whose missions contribute to or are affected by the technology focus area of the institute.

Editorial Notes
References in Text

Section 10621 of this division and section 10621, referred to in subsecs. (e)(2)(B)(iii) and (f), mean section 10621 of div. B of Pub. L. 117–167.