VUU receives $2 million in state funding for ‘Innovation Center’

University president says funds will be used for cyber security and STEM technology programs
Virginia Union University is getting a major investment from the state: 2 million dollars for an innovation center that will be dedicated to cyber security and
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:38 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Union University is getting a significant investment from the state: $2 million for an Innovation Center dedicated to cyber security and other technology.

The money is part of a budget amendment passed in the General Assembly Friday. The purpose of the budget amendment was to fund Safety Enhancements at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The $2 million VUU is receiving will be a one-time allotment from the state. The University’s Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, Dr. Mignon Jacobs, says she hopes the money will be just the first of many investments the university can put toward building its Innovation Center.

“We are very much bombarded with the need for cyber security, so Virginia Union University is responding to the needs of our community, the nation, and the world and hence the programs that you see in cyber security in computer science and the stem fields,” Jacobs said.

While plans to construct a building for the Innovation Center are still in their planning phases, the university says the money will be evenly split to fund its STEM and Cyber Security Programs, respectively.

The center will work with local and national technology companies to research, analyze and develop new innovations and technologies designed to accelerate economic growth, strengthen Virginia’s position as a leader in the science and technology space, and provide real-world job-based training to enhance the workforce.

Innovation Center funding Breakdown:

Cyber Security: $1 million

  • $300K: Program Director/ trainer/ Program Instructors (2)
  • $590K: Laboratory equipment, annual laboratory software licensing; technology refreshment of lab hardware to create smart labs, including -- smart display boards; interactive overhead projectors; simulator; full array mics.
  • $110K: Interior repair

STEM: $1 million

  • $150K: Staff Research Assistants (3)
  • $850K: Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer; scanning electron microscopy; LIDAR system; Telescope Room Dome; GPU Visual supercomputers; computers for labs; and refrigeration/ freezer.

University leaders hope that these investments will help give their students the skills necessary for a technology-driven workforce.

“Technology companies are eager to hire highly-skilled workers, and Virginia Union is taking aggressive steps to train students for well-paying jobs in cybersecurity and STEM fields,” VUU President Dr. Hakim J. Lucas. “The Commonwealth of Virginia has agreed to invest $2 million to help create a new Center for Technology & Innovation here at VUU. We are grateful to Governor Youngkin and the General Assembly for investing in students at Virginia’s oldest historically black university.”

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