RD144 - A Proposed Strategic Plan: Establishment of a Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium

Executive Summary:

In the 2019 legislative session, Virginia’s General Assembly called for the establishment of the Hampton Roads Biomedical Research Consortium (HRBRC), with initial funding of $4 million in general funds and $10 million in capital funds for FY20. This is a substantial step for advancing and catalyzing an emerging research and innovation-led economic driver in the region, while also addressing the region’s significant unmet health needs and disparities that serves as a barrier to further economic growth and prosperity of the Hampton Roads region.

The legislative language provided guidance for convening a Work Group of EVMS, ODU, the Community Foundation and a leading not-for-profit hospital, Sentara Health System, facilitated by the University of Virginia, to complete a plan for the HRBRC to be submitted to the General Assembly for approval. The guidance in the legislative language required that the plan:

• Identify areas of research relevant to the region taking into account the region’s biomedical public and private assets

• Conduct a health risk assessment of the region’s population

• Identify cost sharing strategies between and among the partnering institutions and entities to include matching requirements

To assist in developing the HRBRC Plan, the Work Group retained the services of TEConomy Partners, LLC., a leading national technology-based economic development organization with significant expertise and experience in advancing biosciences roadmap for more than 30 states and regions across the U.S. Over the 2017-2019 period, TEConomy assisted the Virginia Research Investment Committee in its comprehensive assessment of the Commonwealth’s research assets across industry, universities and federal labs located in the state, entitled Assessment of Virginia’s Research Assets: Strategic Directions to Advance Innovation-led Growth and High-Quality Job Creation across the Commonwealth (the “Report") and implementation planning. In addition, TEConomy recently worked with the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board to conduct entrepreneurial assessments for each of the nine GO Virginia regions, including Region 5 covering Hampton Roads.

The approach for this HRBRC Plan is to offer a forward-looking development model that builds upon the region’s existing and emerging assets and interests of Consortium members in advancing biomedical-related research. Rather than simply following traditional models of biomedical development, a more cutting-edge approach is proposed that targets a new 21st century “biohealth" development pathway linking biomedical innovation with technology advancements to improve health care delivery in response to the high costs of healthcare in the U.S. and the need for improved health outcomes and reduction of persistent health disparities.