R&D Is Main Ingredient in High-Tech Recipe for States

R&D Is Main Ingredient in High-Tech Recipe for States

By William Welsh, Staff Writer

JUNE 6 ? If state governors and elected officials want their states to participate in the high-tech economy, they should invest in university and private-sector research and development, according to two new reports to be released June 7 by the National Governors' Association in Washington.

New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman will announce the findings of the reports, "Using Research and Development to Grow State Economies," and "Building State Economies by Promoting University-Industry Technology Transfer," at a state technology conference in Somerset, N.J. The reports are the fifth and sixth in a series of papers focusing on the new economy and published by the NGA Center for Best Practices.

Whitman is a member of NGA's New Economy Task Force, established to provide governors with the necessary tools to expand economic growth at the state level.

NGA said the reports essentially are blueprints for state policy-makers who wish to develop successful high-tech areas similar to California's Silicon Valley, North Carolina's Research Triangle Park and Massachusetts' Route 128 Corridor.

"The states that are ahead of the game with high-tech corridors have a long-standing tradition of high-end research and strong university systems," said John Thomasian, director of NGA's Center for Best Practices.

States that are not actively participating in the high-tech economy should establish at least one or two high-tech centers tied to universities, Thomasian said.

"Using Research Development to Grow State Economies" offers suggestions for cultivating successful research and development environments. "Building States Economies by Promoting University-Industry Technology Transfer" examines the importance of state universities' patent and licensing agreements to economic development plans, and provides policy-makers with promoting so-called university-industry technology transfer.

In pursuing high-tech economies, states should not expect overnight success, but realize that they are charting a high-tech course that will reap benefits for future generations, according to NGA.

States with established high-tech corridors should not let down their guard, according to Thomasian. ìIf you don't keep nurturing it and watching where your industries are going, you [run the danger of] of becoming misaligned and wasting a lot of resources," he said.

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