UC Partners with Universities in Ohio and Kentucky to Promote Economic Development
Four major research universities in Ohio and Kentucky are collaborating to promote economic development in life sciences and biotechnology. The Ohio Valley Affiliates for Life Sciences (OVALS), formed by the University of Cincinnati (UC), Wright State University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Louisville, aims to attract biotechnology enterprises to the two states and to develop a regional knowledge-based economy.To launch this initiative, UC will host an inaugural conference addressing the issues and challenges of commercializing research. "Life Sciences Without Boundaries: Bridges to Collaboration" is scheduled for March 10 and 11, 2003, at the Kingsgate Conference Center. The conference will examine current national trends in the commercialization of university technologies and discuss how to collaborate with researchers, institutions, and industry."As someone developing life science research and as an entrepreneur at BIO/START, I know this conference will highlight the importance of bringing university-based research to commercial success as a driver of economic development for the region," said Donald Harrison, MD, senior vice president and provost for health affairs, emeritus.According to Dorothy Air, PhD, associate senior vice president for entrepreneurial affairs, evidence suggests that research institutions have the power to attract growing biotechnology industries. "Because of this, research universities are being viewed as a critical component of developing a regional knowledge-based economy," Dr. Air said.The creation of OVALS in mid-2002 represented a departure from traditional economic development efforts. Rather than competing, the two states can capitalize on their joint strengths and work together to build a region recognized nationally for life sciences and biotechnology. "This conference comes at a particularly opportune time, given the economic initiatives being launched in both states," Dr. Air said. "The combined research assets of the four universities would serve as a magnet for attracting related businesses and industries to the region. This would create new jobs, which then translates into other economic benefits, such as increased tax revenues [and] increased consumer spending. It is our vision that this conference is only a beginning and that other partners will join us as we move forward with developing new economic initiatives."The two keynote speakers for the conference are Louis Tornatzky, author of Innovation U: New University Roles in a Knowledge Economy, and Wendy Baldwin, former NIH deputy director for Extramural Research, who will present "The Role of NIH in Fostering Interdisciplinary and Interinstitutional Collaboration." Other sessions planned for the two-day conference include "The Georgia Research Alliance Experience: Strategies for Bridging the Gap Between Bench and Market"; "Commercialization 101: Getting Your Great Idea to Market"; "State Initiatives and Support for the Developing Knowledge Economy"; and "Breaking Down Barriers: Linkages Outside the Academy."In addition to OVALS, other conference organizers include BIO/START, CincyTechUSA, Dayton Development Coalition, Health Enterprises Network, and Lexington United. Shire US, Inc. is an overall conference sponsor, and Battelle Memorial Institute, BHDP Architecture, Emerging Concepts, Inc., Frost Brown Todd, Kentucky Office for the New Economy, OMERIS, and Sentron Medical, Inc. are additional sponsors.The conference will be held at the Kingsgate Conference Hotel, 151 Goodman Drive, on the UC campus. A block of rooms has been reserved at Kingsgate for conference attendees. Call 888-720-1299 by Feb. 16 to reserve a room.For more information and to register, call (513) 558-1810, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Web site http://www.OVALSgroup.org.