VASEM and VIPC Celebrate Their Anniversaries with Smart Communities Summit

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Virginia Academy collaborated with long-time partner, the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) on a summit taking an in-depth look at one of VIPC’s core initiatives: smart communities, which marked its fifth year in 2023. More than 20 panelists and presenters discussed the role of smart communities as a catalyst to both social and economic development.

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, October 25, 2023 — More than 200 thought leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and scholars gathered at Richmond’s Downtown Marriott on October 9 and 10 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (VASEM) and the fifth anniversary of the Smart Community Initiative led by the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC). The event highlighted smart community engagement and opportunities for smart innovation in the federal, commercial, university, and startup spaces.

“This year’s annual summit surpassed expectations,” said Dr. James Aylor, President of VASEM. “We really appreciated partnering with VIPC to bring some of Virginia’s most innovative thinkers together to provide an inside look at the smart community initiatives underway in the Commonwealth.”

Each year VASEM’s annual summit focuses on a topic of importance to the Commonwealth. Thanks to VIPC’s efforts, its Smart Community Testbed in Stafford is now recognized worldwide as a living laboratory to test and accelerate new smart technology solutions. Thanks to its work, It has positioned Virginia as a leading state in smart community implementation.

The 2023 annual summit welcomed more than 20 presenters and panelists from federal, state, local, governments, private industry, and universities, who discussed the future of innovation and the role of smart innovation as a catalyst to economic development. Glenn Davis, Director of the Virginia Department of Energy, served as keynote speaker. The summit featured panelists from the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and Verizon. Numerous Virginia startups also showcased their smart technologies throughout the event with live demonstrations and presentations.

The summit also offered an opportunity to spotlight student researchers and recognize fellows from the VASEM’s most recent Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science (COVES) Policy Fellowship cohort, who shared their research efforts and summer placement experiences through poster sessions. The 12-week COVES fellowship program aims to strengthen the scientific and technical capacity of state government, private industry, and nonprofit organizations in the Commonwealth of Virginia by encouraging and equipping young scientists and engineers to be effective advisors for public policy.

“Smart technologies are the technologies of the future,” said David Ihrie, VIPC’s Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. “It’s important that Virginians and individuals across the globe recognize that it’s through these innovations that we’ll discover solutions for pressing problems in public safety, emergency management, traffic, parking, drones, energy, health, cybersecurity, and more.”

As part of this year’s annual summit, the Virginia Academy inducted nine new members who have demonstrated leadership in their fields, including:

  • Robert J. Bodnar, PhD. C.C. Garvin Professor and University Distinguished Professor, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech
  • Eric Houpt, MD, Jack Gwaltney Professor and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, University of Virginia
  • Edward Maibach, PhD, Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University)
  • Madhav Maranthe, PhD, Distinguished Professor in Biocomplexity. Director of the Network Systems Science and Advanced Computing Division at its Biocomplexity Institute, Professor of Computer Science, University of Virginia
  • Lindsey Marr, PhD, Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech
  • Vicki Schmanske, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Operations Officer, Leidos
  • Haydn Wadley, PhD, University Professor and the Edgar Starke Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Virginia
  • Gregory Washington, PhD, President, George Mason University,
  • Shuhai Xiao, PhD, Professor of Geobiology, Virginia Tech.

“When VASEM issued their annual call for proposals for the focus of the 2023 summit, we responded enthusiastically,” Ihrie said. “VIPC saw an exciting opportunity to advance awareness of the ways artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analysis can make everyday tasks safer, more efficient, and more convenient. It was a very productive partnership.”


About Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC)

VIPC: Connecting innovators with opportunities. As the nonprofit operations arm of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA), VIPC is the commercialization and seed stage economic development driver in the Commonwealth that leads funding, infrastructure, and policy initiatives to support Virginia’s innovators, entrepreneurs, startups, and market development strategies. VIPC collaborates with local, regional, state, and federal partners to support the expansion and diversification of Virginia’s economy.

Programs include: Virginia Venture Partners (VVP) | VVP Fund of Funds (SSBCI) | Virginia Founders Fund (VFF) | Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) | Petersburg Founders Fund (PFF) | Smart Communities | The Virginia Smart Community Testbed | The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center | Virginia Advanced Air Mobility Alliance (VAAMA) | The Public Safety Innovation Center | Entrepreneurial Ecosystems | Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) | Federal Funding Assistance Program (FFAP) for SBIR & STTR | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. For more information, please visit Follow VIPC on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn.



The Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine is a nonprofit organization consisting of members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine who reside or work in Virginia as well as Virginians who are leaders in these fields. Through its nonpartisan network of experts, the Virginia Academy provides rigorous analytical, technical, and scientific support to inform policy on issues critical to the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Academy also promotes research, fosters interchange among individuals and organizations, and recognizes and honors Virginians who have made major contributions to science, engineering, and medicine.

October 25, 2023

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