05/15 - Innovation Matters | Louisiana Public Square | LPB
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Video Playlist:

Play Button  Full Program - Full Program
Play Button  Extra - Industry’s Role - Camille Conaway, policy analyst with LABI and author of the report, explains what business and industry can do to improve relationships with higher ed.
Play Button  Extra - Other Funding Sources - Camille Conaway, policy analyst with LABI and author of the report, describes two possible sources of funding for higher ed research and development.
Play Button  Extra - Is it Profitable? - Dr. King Alexander, Louisiana State University president, describes research that companies won’t do because it is not monetarily profitable.
Play Button  Extra - The Power of Students - Dr. King Alexander, Louisiana State University president, says the most important thing a university can do is produce good students.
Play Button  Extra - What the PAR Report Misses - Dr. KT Valsaraj, Vice Chancellor of the Office of Research and Economic Development, says LSU’s mission encompasses more than commercialization.
Play Button  Extra - Change of Mindset - Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, Vice President of Research at UL Lafayette, describes the day-to-day mindset at his university.
Play Button  Extra - A Different Metric - Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, Vice President of Research at UL Lafayette, says the most important measurements of success are the numbers of jobs and businesses created by university research.
Play Button  Extra - Training an Industry - Dr. Terry Chambers, who studies solar power at UL Lafayette, explains how building the first solar thermal plant in Louisiana helps the local economy.
Play Button  Extra - The Next Generation - Dr. Terry Chambers, who studies solar power at UL Lafayette, says it is his mission to train the next generation of researchers, no matter where they live.
Play Button  Extra - A New Office - Dr. KT Valsaraj, Vice Chancellor of the Office of Research and Economic Development, says the tech transfer office is moving research to market by connecting with faculty.

05/15 - Innovation Matters

What effect does diminishing Higher Ed funding have on Louisiana research programs?

A diversified economy relies on creative human capital and innovation. These factors are fostered by universities with enterprising research and development programs that maintain a strong focus on economic development. What is the state of R&D in Louisiana’s colleges? What effect does diminishing funding have on these institutions’ research programs? And how can state leaders, university officials and businesses encourage a better environment for innovation and a knowledge-based economy? LOUISIANA PUBLIC SQUARE, Wednesday, May 27 at 7PM.

Panelists:
• Richard Kordal, Ph.D. / Louisiana Tech University
• Richard Koubek, Ph.D. / LSU College of Engineering
• Quentin Messer / Louisiana Economic Development
• David Winwood, Ph.D. / Pennington Biomedical Research Center

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Our Panelists:

Web Resources
Innovation in Louisiana - PAR 2015 Report

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.


There are plenty of good researchers, excellent resources and subsequent innovations and even more potential opportunity yet to be realized, but serious problems at several levels. However, there are also serious problems with overall perception of entrepreneurs and commercialization at the University and State government levels. Some of this is attributable to legislative and ethics issues that need alignment to better support a University-State-commercial ecosystem that will produce local and regional economic development results expected by the taxpayers. Some of this is attributable to believing only the Universities, State officials and big business have the answers. Yet I see we are discussing how to create and build out entrepreneurial commercialization for University innovation. Query: Where are the entrepreneurs in this dialog? Perhaps you can do a program on these issues, as University research alone will not create any jobs or economic development except for professors, student workers and administrators.
Milken and others have extensive data and research on this topic, “Milken Barriers to entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets.pdf” as example. You will also find the data in the following url quite easy to comprehend, useful and interesting: http://www.biopharmaimpact.com/. And yes, Milken has an economic multiplier factor for each professor hired, but if the innovations are not coupled locally, that number is not valid.
I’ve participated as commercial partner and Co-PI in several University grants, including authoring the original brief and lobbying for the GITI legislation with the Foster Administration. I have been in many seminars to help the Universities with these problems. Most of these meetings are just part of a “Check Box” for some awarded funds like Katrina. We listen to a panel of professors talk about their research, then a panel of local big industry execs talk about their companies. Many times I have stood to ask why we are not discussing tech transfer, entrepreneurship, how we access State resources and other problems connected with creating and promoting a commercialization plan like Stanford or Berkeley did. Each time, the audience and frequently the panelists applaud my comments, but an administrator shuts this line of dialog down. That tells me much of these efforts are just window dressing as part of some funded grant requirements.
The best quote I heard in these meetings that sums up the situation: “When will the State Universities get over this silo mentality? Either we have a bunch of big fish swimming in a bunch of little ponds, or we can have a school of fish swimming together in a big ocean.” 
I saw one LSU student on an LPB program (I believe it was Public Square, in fact) clearly express this a few years back. I paraphrase: “The Universities get money [like Katrina NSF funds], form a committee, hire consultants, get the report and on the shelf it goes with no action or change”. An undergrad STUDENT said this. He doesn’t realize the bulk of those earmarked funds are then diverted to what administrators want to do to maintain status quo.
I have high hopes for King Alexander to lead the way for State Universities cleaning up the status quo to put LSU; and by example, other State Universities on a war footing to solve these problems. I met with him in his first week at a business breakfast where he spoke. Excellent grasp of issues and knowledge of his job and the University statistics, which to me are indicative of an agenda that I hope he will be allowed to pursue with full State support.
There are ways to qualify, quantify and fix these problems…. but many of those solutions will not come from the Universities or the State, or from pointing out the innovative nature of the LA Universities. Any decent University is innovative by definition, but academics don’t want to be and are not prepared to be entrepreneurs. Taxpayers want to see jobs for the community resulting from contributions by the Universities as part of a cooperative ecosystem. Academic research data shows State and Federal funding are on a long-term decline. One solution proposed by the experts (and me, repeatedly) is to enable entrepreneurial communities and SBIR for preliminary data and/or proof of concept to better prepare proposals for R1 and R01 grants. There are more, but for those, you will have to ask an entrepreneur.

Posted by Tony Presti  on  06/09  at  08:52 AM
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