Emerging Technology

Boosting Biotech

Jul 10, 2014
Stock Photo

Virginia, no longer ranked as the best state to do business, still has a strong economic footing, especially in Northern Virginia. But because the state is so heavily reliant on defense contracts which have recently been on the federal chopping block, Governor McAuliffe is looking to strengthen the state's economy through other avenues.

Fariss Samarrai

Urban planners in Virginia are trying to make bicycling safer, but they’re hampered by a lack of statistics about who’s riding where.

Alec Gosse rides his bike to work at a Charlottesville company that analyzes data, and this year he was working on a PhD in environmental engineering. Those interests led him to try and solve a problem daunting city planners.

“There was no data for how many bikes were using various roads in the city.  It just didn’t exist.”

Without that information, they didn’t know where to make road improvements for cyclists.

The price of collecting and analyzing massive amounts of information has dropped dramatically over the last decade, creating a new path for discovery in many fields, but the evolution of big data raises big questions that scholars in Virginia hope to address.   From medicine to marketing, from politics to police work, people are buzzing about the potential to learn and grow by collecting and analyzing huge amounts of information.  This brave new world of big data also raises ethical questions and concerns about public policy and the law.

Genetically Engineered food has become a hot button in this country.  Supporters say cross breeding plants is as old as farming itself. Opponents fear today’s high tech methods have created something that may be dangerous in the long run.

A comment period by USDA ended last week, as scientists and activists continue the debate over the idea of genetically modified crops.

Drones & Jobs

Mar 5, 2014
Virginia Tech/College of Engineering

There’s been a lot of attention on Drones recently.  But alongside concerns about privacy and military applications, is potential job creation in Virginia as a new industry rises. 

Virginia is one of seven sites selected for Drone testing research projects.  That got Virginia Tech’s office of economic development thinking about what that might mean for the state if this new industry takes off.  Estimates are as many as 100,000 jobs could be created, nationwide over the next ten years.

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