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Title 13 - Planning, Research and Development
SOUTH CAROLINA RESEARCH AUTHORITY
Establishment of South Carolina Research Authority.
There is created a body corporate and politic to be known as the South Carolina Research Authority (authority) or as the SCRA. The principal office of the authority must be in the standard metropolitan area of Columbia.
The authority is organized to enhance the research capabilities of the state's public and private universities, to establish a continuing forum to foster greater dialogue throughout the research community within the State, and to promote the development of high technology industries and research facilities in South Carolina. The objectives of the authority include but are not limited by the following:
(1) To advance the general welfare of the people;
(2) To increase the opportunities for employment of citizens of South Carolina;
(3) To develop the human, economic, and productive resources of South Carolina;
(4) To promote and encourage expansion of the research and development sector, with emphasis on capital formation and investments in research and development within South Carolina;
(5) To create and maintain a dialogue between the public and private research communities;
(6) To enhance the potential for private support for South Carolina colleges and universities, to promote cooperative research efforts between the private sector and South Carolina universities and colleges, and to strengthen the partnership among state government, higher education, and business and industry;
(7) To assist South Carolina colleges universities in attracting nationally prominent academic researchers and professors and to serve as an initial linkage between the state's outstanding existing research and the business and industrial sector;
(8) To maximize the research capabilities of the public and private universities and colleges in South Carolina; and
(9) To foster the perception of South Carolina as an international leader in the idea generation and the development, testing, and implementation of new advances in science and technology.
Establishment and operation of research parks.
The authority shall operate research parks in cooperation with the institutions of higher learning in South Carolina. Three parks initially must be established, one each near Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the University of South Carolina. The authority may establish and operate additional research parks and research, computer and technology-related projects, and facilities as determined by the board of trustees. The authority is responsible for all decisions and operations of any research park, project, or facility established under this chapter.
Members of board; terms; vacancies; compensation; annual reports; meetings.
The authority shall consist of a board of twenty-two trustees that includes the following ex officio members: President of the Council of Private Colleges of South Carolina, Chairman of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, President of Clemson University, President of the Medical University of South Carolina, President of South Carolina State College, President of the University of South Carolina, President of Francis Marion College, Chairman of the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, Chairman of the State Development Board, Governor of South Carolina or his designee, and Chairman of the Technical Advisory Board of the Authority.
The Governor shall name the chairman who must not be a public official and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
The remaining ten trustees must be elected by the board of trustees from a list of nominees submitted by an ad hoc committee named by the chairman and composed of the members serving as elected trustees. The original elected trustees must be the same members serving as elected trustees on the authority's predecessor organization on January 1, 1983, for the terms specified by the bylaws of the authority's predecessor. Each of the Congressional Districts of South Carolina shall have at least one of the ten trustees.
Terms of elected trustees are for four years, and half shall expire every two years. No elected trustee shall serve more than two consecutive four-year elected terms. Vacancies must be filled for the unexpired term in the manner of original appointment.
Ex officio trustees shall serve as long as they are elected or appointed to their respective offices. In the event of a vacancy of a public sector trustee, the person who temporarily performs the official's functions shall serve as an interim trustee until a new official is elected or appointed.
A vacancy occurs upon the expiration of the term of service, death, resignation, disqualification, or removal of any trustee.
No trustee shall receive a salary for his services as a trustee; however, all shall be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in service to the authority.
The board shall annually submit a report to the General Assembly including information on all acts of the board of trustees together with a financial statement and full information as to the work of the authority.
The board shall hire a director who shall maintain through a designated agent accurate and complete books and records of account, custody, and responsibility for the property and funds of the authority and control over the authority bank account. The Director, with the approval of the board, has the power to appoint officers and employees, to prescribe their duties, and to fix their compensation. The board of trustees shall select a reputable certified public accountant to audit the books of account at least once each year.
Regular meetings of the board of trustees must be held at such time and place as the board of trustees may determine. Special meetings of the board of trustees may be called by the chairman when reasonable notice is given.
Confidentiality of information concerning research parks and projects.
Negotiations with any prospective industry or business concern considering a research park or South Carolina as a facility site are confidential information and must not be disclosed without the permission of the industry or business concern. Information relating pending or incomplete research projects is confidential as determined by the board.
Technical Advisory Board; terms; vacancies; purpose; meetings.
Representatives of industry and academic research communities, who (a) share a common interest in the economic development of South Carolina (b) assume an active role in the authority's activities by their personal involvement, shall, upon nomination by an ad hoc committee appointed by the chairman and with approval by the board of trustees, become members of the Technical Advisory Board of the South Carolina Research Authority (advisory board). The advisory board members shall serve for two-year terms and be eligible to serve three consecutive terms. The board of trustees shall replace, in the original manner, any member who resigns, dies, or is otherwise unable to serve.
The purpose of the advisory board is to advise and assist the board of trustees when so requested by it. The advisory board shall insure that the authority has the input of the research community in implementing its programs and services.
The advisory board shall hold regular meetings at such time and place as determined by the board of trustees.
Meetings of the advisory board may be called by the chairman of the authority upon notice sent by any usual means of communication with reasonable notice.
Powers of board of trustees.
The board of trustees has full power and authority to manage the business and affairs of the authority and to take such action as it may consider advisable, necessary, or convenient in carrying out its powers granted by this chapter and any other law including the following powers:
(1) To have perpetual succession as a corporation;
(2) To sue and be sued;
(3) To adopt, use, and alter a corporate seal;
(4) To make and amend bylaws for its management consistent with the provisions of this chapter;
(5) To acquire, purchase, hold, use, improve, lease, mortgage, sell, transfer, and dispose of any property, real, personal, or mixed, or any interest therein.
(6) To receive contributions, donations, and payments and invest and disperse the authority's funds;
(7) To construct, operate, and maintain research parks, related facilities, and infrastructure;
(8) From time to time to borrow money, make and issue negotiable notes, bonds and other evidences of indebtedness, including refunding and advanced refunding notes, bonds, and other evidences of indebtedness, of the authority; to secure the payment of the obligations or any part by mortgage, lien, pledge, or deed of trust, on all or any of its property, contracts, franchises, or revenues, including the proceeds of any refunding and advanced refunding notes, bonds, and other evidences of indebtedness and the investments in which proceeds are invested and the earning on and income therefrom; to invest its monies, including without limitation its revenues and proceeds of the notes, bonds, or other evidences of indebtedness, in obligations of, or obligations the principal of and interest on which are guaranteed by or are fully secured by contracts with, the United States of America, in obligations of any agency, instrumentality, or corporation which has been or may hereafter be created by or pursuant to an act of Congress of the United States as an agency, instrumentality, or corporation thereof, in direct and general obligations of the State of South Carolina, and in certificates of deposit issued by any bank, trust company, or national banking association; provided, that the authority, when investing in certificates of deposit, shall invest in certificates of deposit issued by institutions authorized to do business in South Carolina if such institutions offer terms which, in the opinion of the authority, are equal to or better than those offered by other institutions; to make agreements with the purchasers or holders of such notes, bonds, or other evidences of indebtedness or with others in connection with any such notes, bonds, or other evidences of indebtedness, whether issued or to be issued, as the authority shall deem advisable; and in general to provide for the security for the notes, bonds, or other evidences of indebtedness and the rights of the holders thereof; provided, that in the exercise of the powers herein granted to issue advanced refunding notes, bonds, or other evidences of indebtedness the authority, may, but shall not be required to, avail itself of or comply with any of the provisions of Sections 11-21-10 to 11-21-80 (Advanced Refunding Act);
(9) To make bylaws for the management and regulation of its affairs;
(10) To make contracts and to execute all instruments necessary or convenient for the carrying out of business;
(11) To delegate authority to any agent or establish any committee in order to accomplish the purposes of the authority;
(12) To mortgage, pledge, hypothecate, or otherwise encumber the property, real, personal, or mixed, or facilities, or revenues of the authority as security for notes, bonds, evidences of indebtedness, or other obligations of the authority; provided, the authority shall have no authority to pledge the credit and the taxing power of the State or any of its political subdivisions;
(13) To maintain an inventory of research efforts in South Carolina;
(14) To attract investments in research and development and high technology industries by focusing attention on various educational, cultural, scientific, and economic activities in South Carolina and by assisting potential investors with information requested to determine whether to invest in South Carolina.
Authority of board of trustees; quorum; personnel; compensation.
The board of trustees shall exercise the powers of the authority. A majority of the elected members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting business. All actions may be taken by a vote of a majority of trustees present unless the bylaws require a larger number. The board shall determine the number of personnel and their compensation and duties.
Exemption from taxation.
It is found and declared that the project authorized by this chapter is in all respects for the benefit of all the people of the State, for the improvement of their welfare and material prosperity, and is a public purpose and being a corporation owned completely by the people of the State. The authority shall pay no taxes or assessments including, but not limited to, income tax, sales and use tax, and property tax upon any of the property acquired by it or upon any of its activities; except that the authority is entitled to the above-referenced sales and use tax exemption only in (1) transactions to obtain tangible personal property for the authority's own use or consumption, (2) transactions related to authority contracts with governmental entities and nonprofit entities, and (3) transactions related to authority contracts with private, for profit entities doing business in South Carolina, where these contracts do not place these entities in competition with other private, for profit entities doing business in South Carolina. The securities and other obligations issued by the authority, their transfer, and the income is free from taxation. After payment of necessary operating expenses and all annual debt requirements, the authority shall reinvest net earnings furthering the purposes of this chapter.
State not obligated, liable, or responsible.
Nothing contained in the provisions of this chapter shall, at any time or in any manner, involve the credit and taxing power of the State, or of any of its political subdivisions; nor shall any of the securities or other evidences of indebtedness authorized to be issued in and by this chapter ever be or constitute obligations of the State or any of its political subdivisions; nor shall the State or any of its political subdivisions ever be liable or responsible, in any way, for the payment of the principal or interest of or on such security or other evidences of indebtedness.
[En 1983 Act No. 50, Section 2] Repealed by 1990 Act No. 581, Section 3, eff June 11, 1990.
[En 1983 Act No. 50, Section 2] Repealed by 1990 Act No. 581, Section 3, eff June 11, 1990.
Assistance to public and private universities.
The authority may assist public and private universities in South Carolina in their efforts to identify and attract nationally prominent academic researchers and professors to accept positions in our schools following established university procedures. This assistance includes coordination of corporate contributions or the provision for direct subsidies to establish professorships and salary supplements competitive in the national markets. The sole determination for hiring resides with the individual institutions.
Identification of common interest areas; promotion of universities.
The authority shall identify subject areas of common interest to the public and private sectors and shall promote the use of South Carolina universities to perform research for private industries.
Establishment of statewide professional research organization.
The authority may establish, in cooperation with the state's colleges and universities, a statewide professional research organization to promote social, professional, and business relationships among researchers in the public and private sectors of the State. The organization established shall conduct regular, regional, and statewide meetings to provide a forum for research presentations and to bring researchers from various industries and universities together to discuss topics of common interest.
Restrictions on authority.
The authority shall in no way interfere in the relationships colleges and universities have established or may establish in the future with industry. The authority shall not infringe upon the rights of faculty members to pursue their own research interests or to secure funding for them. The authority shall not inhibit similar scientific activities in the research parks, but the authority may promote individual parks for differing activities of scientific excellence.
Exemption of authority and its employees from certain Code provisions.
The authority and its employees are exempted from the application of Title 8 (Public Officers and Employees), except for Chapter 5 (Nepotism) and Chapter 13 (Ethics and Disclosure), and Title 9 (State Retirement Systems).
Not-for-profit corporations; powers and limitations; annual audit.
The authority is authorized to establish not-for-profit corporations it considers necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this chapter. These corporations have the powers provided to such corporations under applicable corporate law including, but not limited to, the ability to establish one or more for-profit or not-for-profit corporations, provided, however, that such for-profit corporations are subject to applicable federal and state taxes, and provided that such for-profit corporations shall not compete with any for-profit corporations incorporated in South Carolina. Any such corporation shall engage an independent accounting firm to conduct an annual audit of its books and records.