(UPDATED 2/17/09)


The efforts of West Virginia University and Marshall University to take research-inspired economic development to unprecedented levels in the Mountain State received a significant boost Monday (Feb. 16) when Gov. Joe Manchin and the presidents of both universities accepted a $500,000 grant from Verizon West Virginia for the Research Trust Fund.

Also known as Bucks for Brains, the Research Trust Fund is a major economic initiative that will leverage public and private investments to transform West Virginias economy based on a highly skilled and educated work force.

The state created the program last year with an initial appropriation of $50 million. WVU and Marshall University will be able to tap the fund to double private gifts that support research in energy, biotechnology, biomedical, identification technology, material science and engineering, and environmental science.

Seventy percent of the fund is reserved for WVU and 30 percent for Marshall.

“Verizon has been a leading proponent of economic development in West Virginia for decades,”said B. Keith Fulton, president of Verizon West Virginia.”Technology will play an important role in our state’s continued growth and future success. Our goal in supporting this program is to improve the communities we serve and live in by helping to create new, technology-based jobs right here at home.”

Interim WVU President C. Peter Magrath and Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp attended the Verizon presentation in the Governors Office Monday.

Verizon is to be commended for its citizenship and vision in making these grants to our universities,Magrath said.Vision is what research is all about, and in making this support possible, Verizon is helping us all reach our goal of improving the states economy and the lives of its people. I am honored to represent WVU at this presentation and express our Universitys full intent to continue its tradition of research excellence.

The Research Trust Fund is intended to provide resources that bolster both universitiesability to compete for available research program funding which, in turn, leads to new knowledge, technologies, processes and products that can be commercialized for additional economic development impact. Studies conducted by the state Higher Education Policy Commission have demonstrated that regions populated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals have more intellectual property creation, higher wages, positive health care statistics and more new business startups and jobs.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, serving more than 80 million customers nationwide. Verizon’s Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation’s most advanced fiber optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse work force of nearly 224,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com .