ARA Unveils 2012 Battelle Study: Post Script
The Arkansas Research Alliance released the findings of its latest Battelle study regarding economic development and “knowledge-based” jobs earlier this week, and it boiled down to this: Arkansas is doing good but needs more funding opportunities.
Indeed, capital makes our little human world go ’round. We start by asking Mom for a dollar and before we know it, we’re asking the Monopoly man for a funding round. (Which perhaps leads inevitably to asking the barkeep for another kind of round…)
See coverage of the report’s unveiling from Arkansas Business here. See the full report here.
Arkansas has developed a vibrant startup ecosystem; it has good, adaptable workers. It needs more money to invest in companies that will create the types of jobs that’ll keep our best and brightest at home, and in the homegrown research that’ll create those kinds of companies.
Mitch Horowitz of Battelle said Arkansas has taken the opening kickoff to midfield in terms of developing a knowledge-based economy that can create high-paying jobs. ARA’s Jerry Adams thinks it’s closer to a touchback — we’re on the field and in the game, for sure. We have Tyler and Cobi, but can the running game help move that ball right down the field? (Couldn’t resist.)
State officials think we can. They think we’re a potential BP offense just waiting for all the ingredients.
Here are some extra notes and observations from the announcement on Tuesday:
- Gov. Mike Beebe, who hosted the announcement, called research the key to the type of economic development we want to see in Arkansas. Research is essential as a long-term investment, he said. In addition, he said research has to continue to be a major component to the state’s approach to education.
- ARA board chairman and Windstream CEO Jeff Gardner said the Battelle study underscores three points: 1) Public/private partnerships are working, 2) There is optimism regarding the state’s progress and potential and 3) The major challenge remains identifying sustainable funding mechanisms.
- Horowitz: Research creating new discoveries leads to new jobs. Research universities train and educate our next generation of leaders.
- More Horowitz: Arkansas industries are doing well but need to do a better job in terms of their value added…Ultimately, it’s about talent. You need to keep your talent in Arkansas.
- Adams said he feels a “palpable excitement” when he travels the state. “Arkansas is on the right track,” he said. “The challenge is sustaining and investing in our positive momentum.”
- Battelle identified the following “gaps” that require action: Promoting more entrepreneurship education in the state’s universities; establishment of an Arkansas-based, early-stage VC fund; creation of more industry-university partnerships; ramping up the ARA Scholars program; more university technology commercialization and more university internships with industry.
- Adams believes the Battelle study validated the state’s efforts and commitment to growing a knowledge-based economy, but said the state has to get its youth much better educated. “It’s a marathon,” he said of the growth process. “We can’t let up.”
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