Tobacco Commission grants $1.3 Million to Institute for VIPER program

DANVILLE – The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) received approval of a $1.3 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission on July 22, 2004.

The grant was recommended by the Special Projects Committee of the Tobacco Commission and will directly support the IALR’s Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (VIPER) program. The $1.3 million grant will be used to install a state-of-the-art testing and engineering apparatus called the seven post rig as well as address additional startup costs for its operation.

The Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (VIPER) is a program partnership between the IALR, the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, and Virginia International Raceway (VIR) supported by Halifax County. VIPER will focus on research and engineering services that generate advances in racing performance by combining performance engineering research and testing with world-class racing facilities at VIR. VIPER will ultimately serve auto makers, auto suppliers, government, and private entities. Education and training programs are also planned to function through VIPER partnerships; programs are being planned to increase the region’s skilled labor force and attract higher-paying motorsports-driven employment to Southside Virginia.

“The VIPER program is designed to harness the motorsports infrastructure that already exists in Southside and to attract motorsports industry leaders and experts to this area so that they will invest in Southside,” said Dr. Timothy V. Franklin, executive director of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. “The Tobacco Commission’s continued support of the Institute’s research programs is a testament to their desire to revitalize the economy and bring new jobs and investment to our region.”
VIPER is one of the IALR’s four funded research centers; in addition to motorsports engineering, the Institute is currently implementing research programs focused on unmanned systems and robotics, high value horticulture and forestry, advanced and applied polymers. The IALR will develop and attract technology and talent critical to Southside Virginia’s economic transformation through advanced learning, strategic research, outreach programs, advanced networking & technology, and commercial opportunity development.IALR is part of a comprehensive strategy for Southside Virginia supported by Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech. The Institute has moved to its new location at 150 Slayton Avenue in Danville.

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