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Utah legislative committee reviews USTAR and technology-based economic development during the interim session

The future of USTAR has been the topic of discussion in various circles over the past several months. With changes made earlier this year by the Utah Legislature to USTAR statute, USTAR was on the docket to be reviewed by a legislative committee during the recent interim session.

Senate Bill 239, passed by the 2018 Utah legislative body and signed into law by Governor Gary R. Herbert, ended USTAR’s role with principal researchers at the University of Utah and Utah State University, and gave two USTAR research buildings to the respective universities where they are located.

In June of this year, USTAR presented at the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations subcommittee, as part of a larger discussion on the role of government in economic development. USTAR was also on the agenda for the Economic Development and Workforce Services interim committee to discuss USTAR’s annual report.

Despite several committee meetings and discussions, no final decision has been made regarding USTAR with respect to the future of its grant programs and other entrepreneur support programs. Legislative discussions are ongoing, and there will likely be further activity during the next legislative general session.

While USTAR as an initiative remains operational, USTAR grant funding mechanisms continue to be on hold by legislative directive. USTAR staff continues to work with past and current awardees but is not able to open new funding opportunities.

USTAR’s technology entrepreneur services, including the USTAR SBIR Center, the Innovation Center, and BioInnovations Gateway are still available to entrepreneurs and researchers in the state.

With the approaching legislative session in early 2019, we anticipate clarity regarding the status of USTAR.  Please visit ustar.org for additional information on USTAR programs, or email ustar@utah.gov.

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