This morning, Boeing was named as the first foundational partner of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria, VA. The company’s $50 million, multiyear commitment will help jump-start Virginia Tech’s effort to create the most diverse graduate technology campus in the U.S. Boeing’s commitment will provide student scholarships, foster the recruitment of world-class faculty and researchers, and fund STEM pathway programs for underserved K-12 students looking to pursue a college degree and enter high-tech career sectors.
“We are extremely grateful to Boeing for this extraordinarily generous show of support,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “This is a milestone moment in our university’s history, and it will propel our work to help establish the greater Washington, DC area as the world’s next major tech hub.”
Boeing’s investment in the Innovation Campus, the largest gift ever made to the university, builds on a relationship between Boeing and Virginia Tech that spans more than 70 years.
“Virginia Tech has a bold and unique vision to unlock the power of diversity to solve the world’s most pressing problems through technology, and we are proud to help make that vision a reality,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun, a Virginia Tech alumnus. “Boeing is dedicated to advancing equity and inclusion, both within our company and in our communities, and we look forward to partnering with Virginia Tech to build a robust and diverse STEM talent pipeline to drive the future of aerospace.”
Boeing’s support is great news, not only for Virginia Tech but also for the entire country, according to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).
“The U.S. must maintain international leadership in advancing technology, and talent is our most critical resource,” commented Warner. “It’s exciting to see a world-class company like Boeing invest in a program that will help bolster the depth of our nation’s tech talent and drive economic growth in the Washington, DC region.”
Nationally, computer science and information technology fields were projected to add 531,200 jobs from 2019 to 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To help meet this demand, Virginia has committed to creating 31,000 new computer science and computer engineering graduates over 20 years through its Tech Talent Investment Program agreements with 11 universities.
The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which will anchor a 65-acre innovation district in Alexandria, is a major component of Virginia Tech’s commitment to that program. Lance Collins, vice president and executive director of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, aims to develop the most diverse graduate technology program in the country.
“We launched this campus with an ambitious vision to diversify the talent in high-tech fields,” Collins said. “It takes partners like Boeing to help us achieve such big goals. This gift allows us to begin initiatives now that would otherwise take years to start. We are honored to receive this record gift, and we look forward to delivering on what it has empowered us to do.”
Along with supporting the creation of a dynamic new physical campus located in Alexandria — a nexus of government, industry, and research — Boeing’s investment will go toward scholarships, fellowships, and a variety of academic programs.
New financial aid for students made possible by Boeing will include:
- Full scholarships to attract, retain, and propel a diverse cohort of master’s degree students.
- Additional scholarships for potential future students looking to complete prerequisite courses and qualify for Innovation Campus admission.
- Ph.D. fellowships to attract a highly skilled and diverse cohort of researchers.
Boeing’s support will enable new programs and initiatives to be launched through the center, including:
- A data-driven approach to inclusion- and diversity-focused student recruitment that can serve as best practice for higher education.
- A student success center, providing wraparound academic support.
- A new technology leadership program to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to reshape the culture of the technology center.
- A unique, project-based curriculum that embeds students with industry mentors.
- Collaborative research projects focused on strategic learning domains.
- Programs that provide opportunities for non-traditional undergraduates, including veterans, to eventually enroll and succeed at the Innovation Campus.
The impact of Boeing’s support will also stretch beyond higher education, through outreach from the Innovation Campus that will include:
- A scalable, K-12 STEM engagement program that will drive the future of diversity in the technology sector.
- Funding for a K-12 program director who will develop, implement, and lead a strategy to expand access to technology related disciplines.
Letitia Long, vice rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and alumna of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, complimented Boeing for its support of the Innovation Campus’ vision to broaden access to higher education in high-tech fields.
“Alexandria and the entire DC region is very diverse,” Long said. “I hope every talented student who has an interest in computer science or computer engineering sees themselves at this campus one day. Boeing’s generous and strategic gift is a big step in realizing the Innovation Campus’ vision.”
Biotech Company Grows In Richmond
Meanwhile, in Richmond, Aditxt will establish its first high-capacity AditxtScore™ Center in the second half of 2021. The biotech innovation company plans to create more than 300 new jobs and invest $31.5 million over three years to scale up its state-of-the-art immune monitoring center, including projected new jobs, laboratory equipment, and construction.
Governor Ralph Northam and company officials announced the project during an event at the Virginia Bio+Tech Park, a campus of Activation Capital, where the company will occupy 25,000 square feet of Bio+Tech 8 with plans for future expansion.
“Richmond is an ideal location for our first high-capacity AditxtScore™ Center given its skilled workforce, location, and infrastructure,” said Amro Albanna, Co-founder and CEO of Aditxt. “As we begin rolling out the AditxtScore™ platform and applications for immune monitoring, the establishment of an AditxtScore™ Immune Monitoring Network is vital to realizing our full vision for AditxtScore™, which is to transform immune diagnosis from reactive testing to proactive monitoring. We look forward to working with the community to complete this important step in the execution of Aditxt’s strategic plan, and we are grateful to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Governor Northam, his team, and all involved for their support and welcoming reception.”
AditxtScore™ is pioneering a new approach to immune health monitoring that will provide a personalized profile of the immune system. By assessing an individual’s immune biomarkers, AditxtScore™ is able to measure indications of immunity to specific disease. AditxtScore™ applications include the recently commercialized AditxtScore™ for COVID-19, developed for use in detecting antibodies and neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 antigens.
“The Richmond region has emerged as a hub for cutting-edge biotech companies, and this thriving industry will be bolstered by the addition of Aditxt’s Immune Monitoring Center,” said Gov. Northam. “The Virginia Bio+Tech Park is an ideal location for the company to continue its groundbreaking work to improve the health of our communities and help us better understand our own immune systems—something that has become extremely important over the past year. We are honored to welcome Aditxt to the Commonwealth, and we thank the company for creating more than 300 well-paid jobs for the people of Virginia.”
Since going public in June 2020, Aditxt has moved aggressively to fulfill its mission to prolong life and enhance quality of life by improving the health of the immune system. Alongside AditxtScore™, the company is developing the AditxtReprogramming™ therapeutic platform which is currently in a pre-clinical stage and is designed to retrain the immune system to induce tolerance with an objective of addressing rejection of transplanted organs, autoimmune diseases, and allergies. Aditxt expects to initiate clinical studies in patients by the end of 2021.
“Aditxt has the potential to significantly improve human health and longevity, and we are proud to welcome this innovative company to the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Greater Richmond offers world-class education institutions, research assets, and a pipeline of skilled talent that will support Aditxt’s mission, and we look forward to working with the company as it grows in Virginia.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with the City of Richmond and the Virginia Bio+Tech Park to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Gov. Northam approved a $1.3 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City of Richmond with the project. Aditxt is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and a Research and Development Expenses Tax Credit for qualifying research and development expenses.
Support for Aditxt’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners, with funding support from the Northam Administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.
“Life science innovation is a growing industry in Richmond, and we continue to get better with the addition of Aditxt,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “The company’s anticipated investment into the City of Richmond and the potential 300 plus new jobs created will absolutely have a positive impact on the city’s economic growth. Equally important, the work the company does will have a far-reaching impact, advancing the health of our community and others around the world. Richmond is proud to be part of these advancements as home to Aditxt’s first high-capacity AditxtScore™ Center.”
“Aditxt choosing to locate its operations in downtown Richmond within the Virginia Bio+Tech Park is a signal that central Virginia has the talent, infrastructure, and resources needed for supporting life sciences companies,” said Chandra Briggman, President and CEO of Activation Capital and the Virginia Bio+Tech Park. “This announcement is significant for Richmond and the Commonwealth, and we are looking forward to welcoming Aditxt to our innovation ecosystem.”
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