Office of the Governor - Greg Abbott

Governor Abbott Proposes To Eliminate Emerging Technology Fund; Establish New University Research Initiative

Thursday, January 29, 2015  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release
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Governor Greg Abbott today announced a proposal to eliminate the Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) and use the ETF’s unexpended balances to establish the Governor’s University Research Initiative. Under Governor Abbott’s proposal, the Governor’s University Research Initiative would provide matching funds to help Texas institutions of higher education recruit prestigious, nationally-recognized researchers to their faculty—which would both elevate Texas’ public universities and serve as catalysts for economic development.

Governor Abbott released the following statement regarding his proposals:

“Texas will continue to make meaningful and effective investments in job creation. Now we must also harness our resources to elevate Texas’ higher education institutions as integral participants in our economic advancement. My plan will enhance Texas’ ability to recruit nationally-recognized researchers, promote economic development, and serve as a significant step toward ensuring Texas is home to five of the top ten public universities in the nation. Texas will be home of the research centers and great minds that will transform the next generation.”

The proposals Governor Abbott announced today include:

  1. Eliminating the Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) and transferring the ETF’s existing portfolio to the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company, which is chaired by the Comptroller of Public Accounts and employs professional money managers who will work to maximize returns to the State;
  2. Reallocating 50% of the ETF’s unexpended balances to the Higher Education Coordinating Board to fund the Governor’s University Research Initiative, which would help fund the recruitment of Nobel Laureates and Members of the National Academy (or equivalent) to Texas public universities;
  3. Reallocating 50% of the ETF’s unexpended balances to the Texas Enterprise Fund to enhance the State’s ability to recruit and retain businesses and job opportunities to Texas.

Under Governor Abbott’s proposal, which requires legislative approval, the Governor’s University Research Initiative would be available to provide matching funds to Texas public universities for the recruitment of Nobel Laureates and National Academy members. Governor Abbott particularly urges Texas colleges and universities to focus on recruiting nationally and internationally recognized researchers in fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Because there are substantial start-up costs associated with recruiting nationally-renowned researchers, the Governor’s University Research Initiative would be available to help ensure Texas public universities have access to additional recruitment resources. Any Texas public institution of higher education seeking to recruit a Nobel Laureate, Academy Member, or their equivalent would be eligible to seek matching funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis from the Governor’s University Research Initiative. The Initiative would not be available to fund the recruitment of researchers from another Texas public university.

The Texas Enterprise Fund is a ‘deal-closing’ fund administered by the Governor’s Office that recruits new employers and job opportunities to Texas. Governor Abbott has previously stated that the Enterprise Fund needs to be reformed and has pledged to work with the Texas Legislature to improve the transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of the Fund.