Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced on Monday, Jan. 9, a $1.1 million grant from the Virginia Research Investment Committee (VRIC). The grant was awarded to a Virginia Tech research team, which collaborated with a University of Virginia research team and private company VoltMed Inc. to complete the project, according to the application for funding submitted by Tech biomedical engineering and mechanics professor and principal researcher of the project Rafael Davalos.
The team is working on a medical device that will “use low-energy electric fields to treat brain tumors, the second-leading cause of death in people under the age of 20,” according to the press release from the office of the governor. $1.2 million in additional funding has been acquired for the project as a condition of the grant award.
“This invention shows how our colleges and universities are incubators for technologies that can save lives as well as drive the economy,” said Peter Blake, director of the State Council of Higher Education and chair of VRIC.
The award is funded through the Virginia Research Investment Fund as part of a program to support research at Virginia’s universities that have strong commercial prospects. This project was among many considered to receive funding. Projects were proposed in the life-science and cybersecurity fields by Virginia universities. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) administered the competition and the VRIC committee made the final decision on the awards. In December, the committee approved two awards totaling $1.4 million for products from Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia.
“Virginia’s colleges and universities have a strong record of research and state-of-the-art technologies, and I am proud that we are able to support the important work they are doing,” McAuliffe said. “Projects like this one at Virginia Tech demonstrate how innovation in the laboratory and in the marketplace can work together to advance the new Virginia economy.”