Grants are a key to USU's livelihood, and a key money angel is the Utah Science, Technology and Research initiative, a state program that turns university research into commercial enterprises. Despite state budget cuts, USTAR boosted its funding by 50% to $66 million in the last six months of 2010. Much of that money came from venture capital.
Fueled by its success, Utah State has been able to lure top talent and expand research facilities. Last fall, USTAR opened its $60 million BioInnovations Center on campus, and in February, the $23 million Bingham Entrepreneurship & Energy Research Center opened its doors.
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These terrific small towns -- even now -- boast great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, and more.