On Friday, AICUO's Executive Committee voted unanimously to support the May ballot proposal to continue funding for the Third Frontier program. In February by large bipartisan margins, the legislature approved language that would permit Ohio voters to add $700 million in funding for Third Frontier programs from state-issued bonds. The funds will help businesses, colleges, and universities to fund commercialization efforts for technologies developed in the state. The extension would add five years to the life of the program. On Friday, AICUO sent Gov. Strickland, Speaker Budish, and President Harris letters that read as follows:
I am writing you today to inform you that the leadership of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio has voted to support State Issue 1, which renews a program essential to Ohio’s economy and its higher education system, the Ohio Third Frontier Program.
The Third Frontier program invests in cutting-edge research collaborations between industry and higher education that are linked to growing industries. Third Frontier has successfully created 48,000 jobs and created, attracted or capitalized 571 start-up companies. It’s produced more than $6.6 billion in total economic impact in the state, and has had a stunning return on investment, averaging 22 percent per year, again showing the strength of Ohio’s research institutions.
Additionally The Third Frontier program has made a significant impact at AICUO member schools, funding the Third Frontier Internship program and research projects across the state. This renewal would increase competitive peer-reviewed projects making an additional $200 million available for Ohio's institutions.
As you help make the case to the voters of Ohio for passage of Issue 1, I encourage you to mention the support of Ohio’s independent colleges and universities for its passage.
—C. Todd Jones