Virginia Gov. Gerald L. Baliles has recommended that the Center for Innovative Technology based in Fairfax County receive $25.6 million in operating expenses for the 1988-90 budget, a 35 percent increase that is viewed as a glowing vote of confidence by state and CIT officials who hope to squelch skepticism about the center's work.

The proposed budget emphasizes efforts to translate academic research into marketable products and services, though the majority of state money would continue to go toward university research, according to CIT and state officials.

"From our viewpoint, it really looks like they {CIT} are taking off and flying," said Mike Etkin, a senior state budget analyst who reviewed the CIT budget. "This represents the state getting completely behind CIT."

In addition, the governor has recommended $7.6 million to finance completion of a new building at Rte. 28 and the Dulles Access Road that will house the center in about a year.

Two of the center's highest priorities are to establish additional university-based centers to conduct specialized research catered to the needs of the state's businesses and to develop more industrial alliances and spinoff business ventures to capitalize on the state's growing number of high-tech businesses.

CIT, a private, nonprofit corporation which is state- and industry-financed, was created in 1984 by former governor Charles S. Robb to foster economic development in the state by marrying the interests of the state's industries with the research efforts of its universities.

In its formative days, the center was a target of complaints by industry leaders and educators who regarded its administrators as aloof and secretive, and its goals as ill-defined. The center's work also came under criticism for having too little apparent practical application.

Several legislators contacted yesterday said they had yet to be briefed on the CIT proposal and were not prepared to comment.

"We haven't really come to grips with {the budget proposal} yet," said Del. Robert Harris (R-Fairfax), who serves on two House subcommittees that will consider the CIT budget proposal.

However, he added, "I think there is a high expectation now that CIT has overcome its initial formative years, that CIT will settle down and do well. People are having a hard time being able to focus on constructive accomplishments, but there is a recognition that it's making a contribution."

Ed Davis, a former IBM executive who took over as CIT president six months ago, said the center is doing a better job of translating research into marketable products.

"I don't believe we're perfect," Davis said. "But I don't believe the old critics can make the same claim" that academic research was overemphasized.

The center has worked with about 200 companies to cosponsor nearly 300 research projects at 12 state colleges and universities.

In recent months, for example, the center brought together several corporations and helped form the joint venture, ProScience. The biotechnology company produces veterinary products for the dairy industry.

Also in the last year, the center's funding at Old Dominion University helped an Eastern Shore farmer redesign a cucumber harvesting machine to make it commercially viable.

And at Old Dominion University its funding led to the invention of a tick-controlling method that is expected to lessen the infestation problem among cattle.

The state has appropriated about $50 million for the center since its inception in 1984, including $18.8 million for a modernistic headquarters that is scheduled for completion in about one year.