Twenty-two technology development projects at Utah colleges and universities are getting a financial boost through the state Centers of Excellence program.

COE director Nicole Toomey Davis last week told the Governor's Office of Economic Development Board that $2.75 million will be distributed as grants during the 2008-09 fiscal year. The program is designed to provide financial help to Utah's colleges and universities and help them advance technologies out of the lab and into industry.

Recipients are eligible for up to $500,000 of funding, with a 1-to-1 match, over two years. The first year features grants of $50,000 to $100,000, and recipients must have headquarters or significant regional or divisional headquarters in Utah.

Thirty-six of the applicants this year were licensees, which are companies involved in licensing and planning to take to market the technologies developed at Utah colleges and universities.

"The taxpayers are the winners in this," said Richard Nelson, a GOED board member and president and chief executive officer of the Utah Technology Council.

The 22 grant recipients' technologies range from advanced structural composites to strategies to remove head lice.

The largest grant — $275,000 — was awarded to the Center for Clean Coke Technology at the College of Eastern Utah. A grant of $200,000 went to VisTrails Inc. (University of Utah), and Heavystone Laboratory LLC (U.) received $120,000.

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