Officials with Oklahoma’s Economic Development Generating Excellence (EDGE) program approved more than $6.9 million funding for five projects aimed at stimulating the state’s economy.
Paul Risser, executive director of the EDGE Policy Board, said the second year of funding is important to expand the state’s tech-based economy.
"This action, coupled with other economic development efforts in the state, tells the world that Oklahoma recognizes that technology and innovation drive business development and growth, and that the state is willing to make these key investments,” Risser said.
Projects are funded with earnings from the $150 million EDGE Fund endowment, approved by the state Legislature in 2006. Areas of investment are agriculture, aerospace, biotechnology, energy, information technology and telecommunications, nanotechnology, sensors and weather science.
The five winning proposals were selected from 65 that were evaluated by the policy board and its nationwide advisory committee. Thirteen proposals were reviewed by experts and the advisory committee who provided the policy board with their review and recommendations.
The projects approved for funding are:
→Oklahoma flight innovation, research and testing of unmanned aerial systems — $1.5 million, two years. Led by the University Multispectral Laboratories in Ponca City and Oklahoma State University, the project will create a testing facility at Fort Sill in Lawton that allows flight and ground of unmanned aerial systems within restricted airspace. The consortium includes several private companies and the NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium.