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PHILADELPHIA-Proposals for the first $50-million allocation of Ohio’s 10-year, $500-million Wright Brothers Capital Fund are being solicited. The funding is earmarked for the creation of Wright Centers of Innovation along with smaller capital improvement projects that are also devoted to technology research and commercialization.

The funding, named to honor the Ohio natives who invented aviation, is part of the state’s 10-year, $1.6-billion Third Frontier Project, an initiative to expand the state’s high-tech research capabilities and promote technology-based start-up companies.

The Wright Brothers fund must be spent on construction or renovation of facilities; not on operations. Matching federal and private funding, however, is available to help with operations, once Wright Centers are established.

Up to $20 million of this year’s funding is allocated to create Wright Centers that focus on bioscience technology. The money is part of a joint competition for funds from the state’s biomedical trust fund, which was created from tobacco settlement revenues.

Up to $20 million more is allocated to create Wright Centers in the areas of information technology, advanced materials, power and propulsion, and/or instruments, controls and electronics.

The remaining $10 million can support capital expenditures in any of the above technology areas except the biosciences.

The deadline for submission of request-for-proposal materials for the first $50 million is Feb. 17.

An additional $50 million for new Wright Centers will be granted from the fund in the state legislature’s 2003 budget. The ultimate goal is to have at least two Wright Centers devoted to each of the five areas of technology over the next 10 years.

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