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UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute to receive $8 million as part of state budget

The Tennessee General Assembly decided to invest $8 million in the institute so it can continue working on difficult scientific and technical challenges.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee General Assembly invested $8 million to help researchers solve difficult scientific problems — right in East Tennessee.

They invested the money in the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute, a collaboration with UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It was established in 2019 and maximizes coordination between programs at the two institutions.

“Solving the most difficult scientific and technical challenges requires cooperation and sustained commitment,” said Thomas Zacharia, the director of ORNL. “The course we set now will define how great an impact we can have in fields where our leadership is essential for long-term economic competitiveness and security.”

The innovation institute's goal is to support STEM-related education from kindergarten through postdoctoral studies. It plans to recruit faculty and scientists to East Tennessee while also developing new initiatives to solve the world's greatest scientific challenges.

It also hopes to create a pipeline for talent in areas of growing national need, such as automation and artificial intelligence.

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