RICHMOND, Va. -

Virginia Commonwealth University and Penn State are partnering to develop closer scientific cooperation.

Officials say the universities have signed an informal agreement with a common goal of moving important findings from the lab to the clinic and community more efficiently.

The agreement is built around the National Institutes of Health's Clinical and Translational Science Award. The schools are among 61 academic research centers in the nation to receive the awards intended to spur collaboration around scientific health discoveries. Faculty members from both institutions plan to collaborate on a range of projects.

Officials say the collaboration will enhance the international reputation and expertise of the universities and will result in the discovery of innovative, lifesaving medical treatments for patients around the world.