In the current constrained fiscal environment, a number of state investment programs have seen funding shrink, if not downright disappear. But one initiative that should not just avoid the axe but be augmented is the R.I. Science and Technology Advisory Council’s Collaborative Innovation Research Grant program.
The seven rounds of STAC’s grants so far have pumped $8.5 million into the work of some of Rhode Island’s most innovative and inventive minds, helping to maximize the collective potential of the state’s intellectual talent. The grants also have attracted an additional $36 million in grant funding and other sources of capital.
Another important aspect of the grant program is its requirement that recipients be teams from different institutions, thereby supporting collaboration across the state, something that Little Rhody must be good at in order to play in the big leagues.
This year, the grants, which total a little more than $800,000, are concentrated in marine science, and specifically on what is happening in and around Narragansett Bay, with the goal of making sure the Ocean State is at the forefront of scientific discovery in the discipline.
It is prudent to make the assumption that putting the state’s fiscal house in order is an important step in making Rhode Island an attractive place to locate and grow a business. But it would be short-sighted to do so at the cost of reducing the positive effects that government can have on the private sector, and especially areas in which the state enjoys a competitive advantage on much of the nation, if not the world. •