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UMass Hosts National Forum on Public University-led Economic Growth

Governor Patrick Speaks to A·P·L·U, Stressing the Importance of Innovation and Technology Commercialization

BOSTON-Leaders of public research and land-grant universities from across the nation today concluded a three-day gathering in Cambridge, where they pledged to use their institutions' research and innovation capabilities to help to revitalize the nation's economy.

The meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A·P·L·U) Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity was hosted by the University of Massachusetts and UMass President Jack M. Wilson. Approximately 80 public land-grant universities took part in the meeting, one of two held by APLU each year.

The Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity (CICEP) is currently chaired by Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow. UMass President Jack M. Wilson is the chairman-elect and will become leader of the Commission in November.

President Wilson said that public universities are essential to the nation's academic, research and innovation infrastructure and will be key to economic recovery.

"Public universities are engines of research and innovation, producing the ideas and discoveries that fuel national economic growth. I am convinced that the means for the economic recovery will be found in the public colleges and universities that, nearly a century and a half after their inception, still constitute one of government's most effective and enduring creations," President Wilson said.

On Monday, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick delivered remarks about the importance of innovation to economic growth.

Governor Patrick said, "As in so many areas, we in government are partnering with academia to bring fresh solutions to our challenges. In laboratories and research facilities, scientists and technicians are giving patients and their families new hope, while growing an important sector of our economy."

The A·P·L·U Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity is focused on understanding and defining the expanding university role in local and regional innovation and economic development.

Arizona State President Michael M. Crow underscored the importance of the meeting stating: "The Commission is focused on the rapid expansion of regional innovation clusters in the United States. President Wilson will take our efforts to the next level, which will benefit the Commonwealth and the nation in achieving economic recovery."

Over 100 higher education leaders in academic affairs; research and graduate administration; public and governmental affairs; business and engineering departments; and outreach, economic development, and technology transfer and entrepreneurship programs participated in the CICEP meeting.

"Land-grant universities have a legacy of serving as economic engines for their regions and states which is even more important today in our troubled economy," said Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. "The research, innovation and technology transfer activities of public research universities, along with undergraduate and graduate education, will play critical roles in helping our regional and state economies recover over the next several years."  

McPherson added, "The university economic development professionals meeting in Cambridge this week will be at the forefront of these efforts and we salute Arizona State University President Michael Crow and University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson for their leadership on this important issue."
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A·P·L·U) is an association of public research universities, land-grant institutions, and many state public university systems. Its 218 members enroll more than 4.7 million students, award nearly one-million degrees annually, and attract nearly $30 billion in federal spending on research and development in science and engineering.

Established in 1863 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, the University of Massachusetts is the Commonwealth's public research university, educating more than 62,000 students each year at its campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester.

Robert P. Connolly, 774-455-7188



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