Oregon Sets Sights on Innovation Plan

The Oregon Innovation Council (Oregon InC), which spent a year reviewing how best to expand the state’s economy by leveraging industry-supported initiatives with public investments, may get to see the toils of its labor come to fruition. Gov. Ted Kulongoski released earlier this month his 2007-09 budget, with full support for the innovation plan put out by Oregon InC.

Oregon InC, a private-public statewide advisory council created by the 2005 legislature, had proposed $38.2 million for investment in industry and research initiatives to increase productivity and generate innovative technologies (see the Oct. 2, 2006 issue of the Digest). The governor’s budget includes full funding for the council’s proposals, including:

* Continued investment in Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, the state’s first signature research center focused on nanotechnology and microtechnology ($10 million);

* Development of the nation’s first commercial-scale wave energy park, building on the wave energy research already conducted at Oregon State University ($5.2 million); and,

* Enhanced training and R&D resources in value-added manufacturing processes to ensure that the manufacturing industry, where one in seven Oregonians are employed, can remain competitive ($3.4 million).

Another chunk of the recommended funding, $10 million, would support two new signature research centers. The Oregon Translational Research and Drug Discovery Institute, a partnership of four state universities, would develop and commercialize new drugs to fight infectious diseases. The Bio-Economy and Sustainable Technologies Center would focus on R&D in clean energy, bio-based products and green building materials.

In addition, $5 million is proposed for a Cluster Accelerator Fund, offered in partnership with the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department to strengthen the state’s innovation pipeline in selected technology areas.

During its first year, the 42 executives, university provosts, venture capitalists and legislators comprising Oregon InC volunteered more than 1,000 hours to develop the plan. The group sought to create a strategy that would raise wages, result in new high-paying jobs and strengthen research efforts. While not listed with a specific funding recommendation, one of Oregon InC’s other objectives – increasing venture, seed and private capital available to entrepreneurs – also receives some attention in the plan. In all, the group reviewed 25 innovation proposals, highlighting those deemed closest to implementation.

Oregon InC’s 2007 Innovation Plan is available at


Copyright State Science & Technology Institute 2006. Redistribution to all others interested in tech-based economic development is strongly encouraged. Please cite the State Science & Technology Institute whenever portions are reproduced or redirected.

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