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Annual Report details CoEE program's achievements in FY 2008


April 27, 2009


Contact: Clare Morris, 803.413.6808 or


Annual Report details CoEE program's achievements in FY 2008


South Carolina's Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) Review Board has released its annual report to the members of the General Assembly and the State Budget and Control Board. The report highlights the program's accomplishments through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2008.


The CoEE program was created by the S.C. General Assembly in 2002 as a bold action to stimulate research and development and high-wage job creation. The program recruits world-class scientists and engineers to the state to lead university-based research centers. The purpose of the centers is to increase public-private research partnerships, create well-paying jobs and improve the quality of life for the people of South Carolina.


Here are a few ways the CoEE program had a positive economic impact in FY 2008:


  • Research conducted at the Stroke Center of Economic Excellence, a collaborative program between USC and MUSC, has critically reshaped rural stroke care in South Carolina. In May 2008, the REACH network was activated. Doctors at MUSC are now able to treat stroke victims at community hospitals through remote telemedicine. In just a few months at McLeod Health in the state's Pee Dee region, twice the number of stroke patients were treated with a life-changing stroke therapy than had been treated in the full previous year. Two of the three new CoEE endowed chairs recruited to the state in FY 2008 are internationally recognized stroke experts: Drs. Robert Adams and Marc Chimowitz.


  • FY 2008 marked a significant year of new partnerships for the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), which serves as an umbrella for the automotive-related Centers of Economic Excellence. Mazda North American Operations partnered with CU-ICAR by providing graduate fellowships, drive trains and a Mazda CR 7 Crossover vehicle for testing. Ozen Engineering (California) with its associates CADFEM GMbH (Germany) and EnginSoft SpA (Italy) decided to locate their North American headquarters at CU-ICAR. Automotive software company INTEC, U.S., Inc. also chose CU-ICAR as the site for its United States presence.


  • CoEE endowed chairs and their research teams attracted significant external funding to South Carolina in FY 2008, particularly in automotive-, energy- and nanotechnology-related areas. The CU-ICAR chairs and their research teams were awarded 33 grants totaling more than $5 million from federal and corporate sources. Faculty associated with the Solid Oxide Fuel Cells CoEE generated more than $26 million in proposed research funding, including a $22 million Department of Energy proposal. The CoEE in Polymer Nanocomposites received an $865,000 research grant from NSF, MeadWestvaco and Montan Polysaccharides.


  • In FY 2008, CoEEs also attracted major health-related funding to South Carolina. The SeniorSMART� CoEE received $3.9 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Fullerton Foundation and S.C. Health and Human Services. The Health Facilities Design and Testing CoEE was awarded a subcontract with the U.S. Department of Defense entitled, "Patient Room of the Future"; the first two phases provided the CoEE with more than $850,000 in research funding. The Renal Disease Biomarker CoEE had $4.4 million in federal research funding in FY 2008. Health Care Quality CoEE endowed chair-holder Dr. Iain Sanderson, who was recruited to the state during FY 2008, received a $7 million grant from the Federal Communications Commission to enhance rural healthcare through telecommunications and information services. In addition, the CoEE in Cancer Drug Discovery had more than $3.7 million in sponsored federal funding and the Vision Science CoEE obtained research contracts totaling over $1.5 million from a number of companies including Bausch & Lomb and Pfizer.


  • FY 2008 saw the opening of two patient simulation training labs, part of the Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety CoEE (MUSC/USC). The centers, one located in Greenville and one in Charleston, will train health care personnel around the state so that medical errors are reduced. Each lab is equipped with computerized mannequins that simulate human reactions, allowing those being trained to improve their techniques without risking harm to actual patients. More than 2,800 students and practicing health care workers have participated in simulation activities in areas including emergency team training, difficult airway management and labor delivery skills. 


  • Through the end of FY 2008, the CoEE Program had attracted one quarter billion dollars in non-state investment in the South Carolina economy, including $119.7 million in private and federal funds and $122 million in external research grants. In FY 2008, the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation announced a $5 million pledge for the Regenerative Medicine CoEE, which supports research in developmental biology, adult stem cell technology and tissue engineering. Fluor Corp. made a $2 million matching commitment to Clemson University to create a new CoEE Endowed Chair in supply chain and logistics. Several other companies from within South Carolina and outside the state also chose to invest in the program.


  • Through the end of FY 2008, CoEE-related researchers had filed 110 invention disclosures and 49 U.S. patent applications. They had been awarded a total of seven U.S. patents and one international patent. In addition, 13 new spin-off companies had been created in the state because of the CoEE program.


  • In other positive news related to the CoEE program, SC LightRail went online in 2008. SC LightRail is a dedicated, high-speed communication network that links the state's senior research universities to the National LambdaRail. (Think, "super Internet"--complex data-feeds that once required considerable time to send now blaze across the state in mere seconds). Funded by the General Assembly in 2008, SC LightRail provides support for the development of new or expanding business segments that rely heavily on imaging (biomedicine, bioengineering, etc.). It reduces costs by enabling the universities to pool resources instead of purchasing duplicate systems. And it takes South Carolina's research universities to the next level of computing power--which makes the state more competitive for major research grants and serves as an essential recruitment tool to attract top CoEE program faculty.


A full copy of the FY 2008 annual report is available online at



About the CoEE program

The CoEE program was created by the South Carolina legislature in 2002 and is funded through South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions, Medical University of South Carolina, Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, to use state funds to create Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEEs) in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy. Each Center of Economic Excellence is awarded from $2 million to $5 million in state funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state investment. To date, 42 Centers of Economic Excellence have been created and 22 endowed chairs have been appointed to lead the centers. The CoEE program has resulted in more than a quarter billion dollars of non-state investment in the South Carolina economy and is responsible for the creation of more than 2,000 jobs. For more information, visit



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