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Tim Sands, President of Virginia Tech and Deb Crawford, Vice President of Research and Development of George Mason University Present at NVTC Board Meeting

On May 21, the NVTC Board of Directors heard presentations from two of the Virginia universities which will take a prominent role in the expansion of programs to meet the talent needs of the entire region with the upcoming Amazon HQ2. Tim Sands, President of Virginia Tech, and Deb Crawford, Vice President of Research and Development of George Mason University, (representing President Ángel Cabrera) both delivered overviews on the investments their institutions are making to feed the growing demand for tech talent in the region, including the new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria and George Mason University’s Institute for Digital Innovation.

NVTC Board Meeting.
Tim Sands, President of Virginia Tech

With more than 30,000 unfilled tech-related jobs, the Northern Virginia area has the biggest gap in the nation. In response, President Sands laid out Virginia Tech’s vision to develop its Innovation Campus in the new National Landing area that straddles Arlington and Alexandria. The proposed 1 million-square-foot graduate campus will seek to serve as a leading magnet for high-tech talent. The Innovation Campus’ degree programs and research opportunities will focus on computer sciences and software engineering, while offering specializations in high-demand areas, including data sciences, analytics and collective decisions, security, and technology policy.

NVTC Board Meeting.
Deb Crawford, Vice President of Research and Development of George Mason University

Meanwhile, George Mason is building a new School of Computing and Institute for Digital Innovation at GMU’s Virginia Square campus in Arlington. The $250 million expansion over the next five years should grow the number of students in computing programs from 6,500 to 15,000 and increase the number of highly-skilled graduates available to Amazon for its new headquarters in Crystal City. The 400,000-square-foot Institute for Digital Innovation will house GMU’s research and graduate education programs and bring together public and private sector partners to advance research and produce high-tech talent.

Crawford and Sands then took questions from Board members. Topics included increasing access to local venture capital funding, differentiating each Virginia university’s technology focus, and the potential impact that ongoing trade battles with China may have on foreign student enrollment in Virginia.