79R12782 JSA-D

By:  Ritter                                                       H.B. No. 3247

Substitute the following for H.B. No. 3247:                                   

By:  Cook of Navarro                                          C.S.H.B. No. 3247

relating to a program to promote research with economic development potential at certain institutions of higher education through financial assistance from the Texas Enterprise Fund. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Section 481.078, Government Code, is amended by amending Subsection (c) and adding Subsection (c-1) to read as follows: (c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), the fund may be used only for economic development, infrastructure development, community development, job training programs, [and] business incentives, and grants to fund research projects under Subchapter FF, Chapter 61, Education Code. (c-1) The governor shall use not less than 10 percent of the amount awarded from the fund in each state fiscal biennium for grants to fund research projects under Subchapter FF, Chapter 61, Education Code. SECTION 2. Chapter 61, Education Code, is amended by adding Subchapter FF to read as follows:
Sec. 61.9751. PURPOSES OF PROGRAM. The purposes of the program administered under this subchapter are to support research in science and technology that has significant potential to promote economic development in this state, and to foster new centers of research excellence and diversify the research capacity of this state, by awarding grants to support research conducted in collaboration with the private sector at public or private institutions of higher education that are not currently major recipients of federal research funding. Sec. 61.9752. ELIGIBLE INSTITUTION DEFINED. In this subchapter, "eligible institution" means a public or private or independent institution of higher education, or a separately administered school, campus, or institute of an institution of higher education, that performs research in science and technology and that has received an average of less than $10 million in federal research grant funding, as determined by the board, in each of the most recent five fiscal years for which the information is available to the board. Sec. 61.9753. ADMINISTRATION OF PROGRAM; GRANT CRITERIA. (a) The board shall develop and implement a program under which the board makes recommendations to the governor regarding science and technology research projects conducted at eligible institutions that the board determines should be awarded grants from the Texas Enterprise Fund established by Section 481.078, Government Code, to promote the purposes of the program. The board, in consultation with the governor, shall prescribe procedures for soliciting and administering applications for grant recommendations under the program and shall prescribe criteria that an eligible institution or research project must meet to be recommended for or receive a grant under the program. (b) The board may appoint one or more advisory committees to advise the coordinating board regarding the board's administration of this subchapter. (c) The board must base its recommendations to the governor under the program on competitive peer review by qualified experts to ensure that funds provided under the program achieve maximum effect and that projects receiving grants under the program have significant scientific or technological potential and are likely to promote the purposes of the program. (d) The board shall consider the availability of matching funds in recommending projects for funding to the extent that matching funds will promote the purposes of the program, but may not condition a recommendation on the availability of matching funds. (e) The board shall consider the extent to which a project is or will be conducted with the participation, collaboration, or financial support of private industry or other entities that are likely to contribute to the success of the project and the practical application of the research funded by the grant. Sec. 61.9754. GRANTS; USE OF GRANT FUNDS. (a) The governor may award a grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund established by Section 481.078, Government Code, to a project for which the board recommends funding under the program. A grant must cover a period of not less than two years and the amount of a grant may not exceed $250,000. (b) The board shall provide for monitoring of each project funded under the program to ensure grant funds are used effectively for their intended purposes and to determine the effectiveness of the grant and of the program. Receipt of funds after the first year of funding must be conditioned on an annual assessment by qualified experts to ensure that the project is making sufficient progress to merit continued funding. (c) The intellectual property policies of the eligible institution conducting or sponsoring the research funded under the program apply to the research project and to any scientific and technological developments, including inventions, discoveries, trade secrets, and computer software, resulting from the research project. SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005.