Section 6A. (a) The corporation shall establish an institute for regional innovation, technology and competitiveness, to be known as the John Adams Innovation Institute, and a fund to be known as the Innovation Institute Fund, to be held by the corporation separate and apart from its other funds, to finance the activities of said institute. The executive director of the corporation shall appoint a qualified individual as director to manage the affairs of said institute. The corporation, on recommendation of the executive director, shall appoint not less than 7 qualified individuals to a governing board to assist the corporation in matters related to said institute and said fund and in matters related to the research center matching fund established in section 4F, including a president of a state or community college, head of an emerging technology company, a representative of a regional planning agency, and a technology transfer officer or individual qualified in technology commercialization from a university in the commonwealth. The executive director, the secretary of housing and economic development, and the president of the Massachusetts development finance agency shall serve as ex-officio members of said governing board. Said board shall consult with the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies and ways and means during the preparation of a detailed plan for the operation of said institute and the matching fund. Upon approval of such detailed plan by the board of directors of the corporation, said board shall delegate such authority to the governing board of the institute as it deems appropriate to implement such plan. The members of said governing board shall be deemed to be directors for purposes of the fourth paragraph of section 3. The purpose of the institute shall be to serve as an agent of the commonwealth to create and maintain a more favorable and responsive environment in the commonwealth for the development, growth, attraction and retention of technology-intensive and innovation-driven clusters of organizations, with a particular attention paid to promoting economic growth in discrete and underserved regions of the commonwealth by harnessing local support and involvement in such economic development activities and by improving the economic infrastructure for such clusters. In furtherance of these public purposes, the institute shall endeavor to identify regions of the commonwealth in which compelling opportunities to make strategic investments appear to be present and develop strategies therefor. The institute may also provide development support more generally to organizations in regions across the commonwealth to assist the formation and growth of emerging technology sectors in those regions and may provide support to departments, agencies, and quasi-public entities of the commonwealth for activities that are consistent with the purposes of the institute. The institute may make grants, not to exceed a total of $4,000,000 annually, in support of Massachusetts-based public and private enterprises developing new technologies to significantly increase the efficiency of the internal combustion engine. The institute may work in collaboration with the Massachusetts technology collaborative, other quasi-public and not-for-profit agencies. Successful grants should incorporate regional involvement through alliances among municipalities, colleges, business and industry, community based organizations, non-profits and labor unions. Insofar as apt, in the determination of the board, the provisions of this chapter that apply to centers and to the center fund shall apply to said institute and to the innovation institute fund, respectively. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the corporation may apply moneys in said fund to start-up expenses and project costs of said institute and related activities, grants to nonprofit or other organizations to develop proposals for regional economic growth in key technology sectors, business incubator development, entrepreneurial training investment in one or more privately managed emerging technology sector investment funds, development of industry-university cooperative research centers, industry networking support, business plan preparation, market research, infrastructure repair and construction, workforce development including, but not limited to, providing funds for programs that provide education and training to enhance the skills of low skilled workers, brokered business assistance services and marketing expenses, provided that written notice shall be given to the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies and the house and senate committees on ways and means at least 10 business days before any disbursement of funds amounting to $250,000 or more. The institute shall also file an annual report of its activities with the house and senate committees on economic development and emerging technologies and ways and means.
(b) No grant shall be awarded from the innovation institute fund without the corporation first having consulted with the appropriate regional competitiveness council or sub-regional competitiveness council established by the department of business and technology. The request for consultation shall be submitted not less than 15 business days prior to the execution of any grant award contract. All successful grant applications shall define specific goals and expected outcomes and contain corresponding accountability measures. Applicants that fail to meet these accountability measures shall be barred from pursuing any additional grants under this section for 5 years from the effective date of the grant. Notwithstanding any general or special law or rule or regulation to the contrary, in order to support regional economic development throughout the commonwealth, any organization found to be eligible to receive financial assistance from the innovation institute fund in support of certain specified purposes and activities shall be deemed to be eligible as well to receive financial assistance for such specified purposes and activities as qualified investments of the emerging technology fund established pursuant to section 27 of chapter 23G of the General Laws and a portion of the emerging technology fund shall be allocated and reserved for such application.
(c) In making the initial round of grants from the innovation institute fund, no less than $500,000 shall be distributed over a 3 year period to each of the 5 geographic regions of the state, the central area, the greater Boston area, the north east area, the south east area and the western area, as those areas are defined generally as follows:
“Central Area”, the Northern Worcester Service Delivery Area and the Southern Worcester Service Delivery Area as specified in 20 CFR 661.280;
“Greater Boston Area”, the Boston Service Delivery Area, the Metropolitan North Service Delivery Area and the Metropolitan South/West Service Delivery Area as specified in 20 CFR section 661.280;
“North East Area”, the Lower Merrimack Valley Service Delivery Area, the Northern Middlesex Service Delivery Area and the Southern Essex Service Delivery Area as specified in 20 CFR 661.280;
“South East Area”, the Bristol Service Delivery Area, the Brockton Service Delivery Area, the Cape and Islands Service Delivery Area, the New Bedford Service Delivery Area and the South Coastal Service Delivery Area as specified in 20 CFR 661.280; and
“Western Area”, the Berkshire Service Delivery Area, Franklin/Hampshire Service Delivery Area and Hampden Service Delivery Area as specified in 20 CFR 661.280.