Tech Hosts U.S. Department of Commerce Forum on Innovation

Georgia Tech will host United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and several other senior administration officials during a July 15 forum, sponsored by the Commerce Department, on the role of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation and the commercialization of federally funded research. University presidents, faculty members and administrators, as well as regional business and economic development leaders, have been invited to participate.

Department of Commerce
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President Bud Peterson and Executive Vice President for Research Stephen Cross will open and close the day’s exchange. In between, forum participants will discuss the capital needed to move an idea from the lab to the marketplace, university strategies to support commercialization, and universities and regional economic development.

The invitation-only meeting is one of four such innovation forums. The University of Massachusetts, the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan have hosted each of the previous events.

In a statement on the forum, Locke said, “Universities have long been a critical driver of innovation in the U.S. We are committed to working with university leaders to increase the economic impact of our nation’s investment in research and development to help drive economic growth and job creation.”

Other administration officials planning to attend the forum are John Fernandez, assistant secretary of commerce for economic development; Travis Sullivan, director of the Commerce Department’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning; and Patrick Gallagher, who directs the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In September 2009, Obama released his national innovation strategy, designed to promote sustainable growth and the creation of quality jobs. One part of the strategy — to invest in the building blocks of American innovation — has been implemented through increased support for fundamental research at U.S. universities by doubling the budgets of agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.