New state effort to bring greater collaboration in research, innovation, and competition

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Research and education in the critical areas of science andengineering have gotten a big boost with the creation of a new officedesigned to increase research infrastructure, including faculty,facilities and equipment through increased collaboration and newpartnerships.

The new Utah EPSCoR office will connect ideas and emergingtechnologies in target markets with entrepreneurs, industry leaders,students and researchers from Utah’s research and regional colleges anduniversities, making the state more competitive in securing federalfunding grants.

EPSCoR refers to the National Science Foundation’s Office ofExperimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, a nationalprogram to diversify science and engineering capabilities nationwide.

“As a designated EPSCoR state,Utahis now better positioned to competefor research infrastructure improvement grants for the purpose ofbuilding capacity in several key areas,” said Suzanne Winters, directorof the newly established Utah EPSCoR office.

Utah EPSCoR partners will include the Utah Science Technology andResearch initiative (USTAR), the state’s research universities andregional colleges, the Utah System of Higher Education, the State Officeof Education, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, andprivate industry groups and businesses.

“To capitalize on EPSCoR opportunities, we need to collaborate, andinitiatives such as USTAR have laid that groundwork,” said Winters, whoalso leads the USTAR-supported BioInnovations Gateway. “The Utah EPSCoRoffice will allow us to more effectively build new, and leverageexisting partnerships, increasing Utah’s competitive advantage andopportunities for future growth.”

Higher education institutions will lead these new partnerships andpublic education will be a key EPSCoR partner, as the office will alsofocus on science-related education and outreach, as well as workforcedevelopment in industries critical to Utah’s future economicdevelopment.

“To succeed in today’s economy,Utah students must be proficient in theareas of science, technology, engineering and math – STEM, for short,”said William Sederburg,Utah’s Commissioner of Higher Education. “We areexcited about the opportunity to partner with EPSCoR to provide anotheravenue to reach students in these critical areas of study.”

Ultimately, the Utah EPSCoR office seeks to create systemic changewithin the state’s research and development and universityinfrastructure, building the capability for long-term and sustainableimprovement in the state’s ability to compete for future RDfunding.

“We live and operate in a knowledge-based economy, and few Statesrecognize the need for growing greater capacity for research andinnovation than in Utah,” said Ted McAleer, executive director of USTAR.“The Utah EPSCoR office will allow us to better work together toharness that potential, which will lead to increased opportunities and,ultimately, the creation of more jobs and revenue across the state.”

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