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More great Convergence-related articles September 6, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Education, Research, Technology, Workforce.
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Catch-up day after the move has been fun as I’ve had a chance to recharge the batteries with stories of innovation in workforce, economic development, innovation and education. Here are three:

  • Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced $5.3 million in technology/innovation entrepreneurship funding for seven projects around the state, combining support for regional venture funds with specific innovation-driven projects. Among the awardees are these fascinating ventures:
    • “Aurora Ventures V LLC received $2 million that will be invested in seed and early-stage Pennsylvania companies specializing, principally, in the information technology and life sciences sectors.”
    • “The [Allegheny Counbty] Technology Collaborative (TTC) was awarded $2 million to support rounds 14 and 15 of its technology commercialization initiative. The initiative provides grants to Pennsylvania companies and universities to develop new technologies and products for commercialization by Pennsylvania companies; creating new products and markets for existing companies; and facilitating the spinout and startup of new companies in the commonwealth.”
    • “The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania Transportation Institute Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicle Research Center received $273,278 to further develop a hydrogen bus, van, and fuel cell vehicle that will be used to demonstrate Air Products and Chemicals’ new hydrogen station. The funding will be used to develop and demonstrate the commercial cost viability of a stand- alone, comprehensive hydrogen fueling station that delivers a hydrogen product stream meeting strict end-use performance requirements.”
    • “Geisinger Clinic received $500,000 to support BioLink, a biobanking initiative. A biobank is a collection of biological material representative of a larger population utilized for biomedical-based genetic and epidemiologic research. The effort will involve collecting 40,000 biological samples over a two-year period. BioLink will establish Pennsylvania as the first biobank of its kind in the world.”
  • The [San Diego] Daily Transcript hosted a discussion on workforce education and development, and a number of interesting notions on how to better align the schools and the world of work. The challenges appear to be serious, as this content-rich article explains:

“As a nation and a region, we don’t look at any kind of holistic view,” said Larry Fitch, president and CEO of San Diego Workforce Partnership. “We don’t have this real level of cooperation and coordination and collaboration that needs to take place between both the private sector and the public sector.”

The result is San Diego isn’t “creating the necessary pipeline” for the technology industry, according to Fitch, forcing local biotechs and other companies to recruit scientists from outside the region.

At the same time, the article lists a number of promising business-education efforts, including those promoted by businesses like Qualcomm, Biogen, Gen-Probe and Geocon. The piece also does a good job presenting a candid appraisal of the expectations of the emerging workforce – the “I graduated from school, I should be boss” mentality, the value of internships and on-the-job training programming.

  • Even Pakistan gets it. We American think of Pakistan with regard to more geopolitical issues, but the country hosted an “International Conference on Technology-based Development Strategies and Options for Pakistan” in late August. Of the speakers, take a look at what this one had to offer:

Professor Nazrul Islam of School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, in his address, “winning the knowledge transfer race”, said that globalisation and rapid technological advancements are shaping the 21st century landscape and intellectual capital has become a prominent concept that now overshadows the physical capital.

He said that rapid knowledge transfer has become a necessity for the developing countries enterprises for their survival and growth; therefore, a concerted efforts from both the enterprises and the government are very much warranted to compete with the developed countries who are much ahead of them in the knowledge race.

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