RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia leaders visited Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) for a tour of the school’s scientific resources at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) departments.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and U.S. Representative Rob Wittman (R-Virginia) were joined by the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Sethuraman Panchanathan, as they toured the school’s labs on Monday, Feb. 6.

The leaders discussed semiconductors, STEM workforce development and scientific innovation with VCU researchers.

“This is how we’re going to address the missing millions that are not part of the science, technology, engineering, medicine continuum, that we need them to be a part of,” said VCU President Michael Rao.

In December 2022, the NSF found that VCU was ranked 50th in the country for fiscal research expenditures.

“The importance of this achievement is more than just hitting a target number,” Rao said in December. “The NSF ranking shows where VCU stands related to our peers and more importantly, to how far and fast we’ve come. Our growth is one of the fastest among Virginia universities and demonstrates our impact and continued success and stature as a public research university committed to transformative innovation.”

Virginia leaders have been exploring the possibility of building a semiconductors factory in Chesterfield or Henrico counties.