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Gov. Perry Announces an Emerging Technology Fund Grant to the University of Houston

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Location: Houston, TX


Gov. Perry Announces an Emerging Technology Fund Grant to the University of Houston

Launches teh Texas International Center for Cell Signaling and Nuclear Receptors

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.

Thank you, Chancellor [Renu] Khator [UHS Chancellor and UH President] and thank you for hosting us here at the University of Houston.

Dr. [Michael] Lieberman [President/Director; Methodist Hospital Research Institute] it's great to see you here today as we celebrate the next big step in the partnership between Methodist Hospital and this university, and continue propelling our state to the forefront of technology commercialization.

Big things are on the horizon here.

I'd also like to thank Dr. Gustafsson [Director of the Texas International Center for Cell Signaling and Nuclear Receptors] for not only being at today's event, but for choosing to continue his landmark research here in the Lone Star State.

For you students of Texas history out there, you know that Swedish settlers played an important role in building our state. Their legacy lives on in towns like Lund, New Sweden and Swedonia.

Many of those settlers came over in the years after the Civil War at the invitation of a businessman named S.M. Swenson, who paid the price of their travel in exchange for a year's hard work.

I am pleased to say that we were able to extend Dr. Gustafsson a much more civilized invitation as a result of our emerging Technology Fund.

Dr. Gustafsson, your presence here today represents a milestone moment in the history of this school and an important indicator of our state's success in creating a culture of innovation.

Here in Texas, we are blessed with wonderful universities and a strong population of bright and talented researchers, whose ideas traditionally gathered dust on the shelves of university libraries, with no obvious path into the lives of people who needed them.

We are working to change that with our Emerging Technology Fund.

The approach we take with the Fund is different from what you might expect from government, because it is not about giveaways, but incentives and investment that lead to innovation.

Here in Texas, we don't just commission studies to learn fascinating information. Instead, we're about finding marketable technologies, fueling their refinement and starting ventures that turn a profit.

You might say that the old academic motto, "publish or perish" is being replaced by "patent or perish."

Today's announcement is the latest example of our efforts to find great ideas born in university laboratories, and invest in them to generate products, that can ultimately create jobs, turn a profit and keep our state's economy humming.

These partnerships also benefit our universities. I would argue that our Emerging Technology Fund is THE mechanism for enhancing a school's magnetism for investment and innovators.

I know there is a lot of talk about Tier 1 universities in Texas and it is an important conversation, because higher education is essential to any state's overall success, and the success of our citizens.

However, those conversations must include approaches like the one we're discussing today, which will ultimately yield better benefits in terms of funding, innovation and life-changing outcomes, because of the accountability and ownership at the heart of this Fund.

They are part of the Texas mindset and the things that breed success in every area of endeavor, the kind of success that is increasingly rare in the world during these tough economic times.

Despite global economic concerns that are striking fear into the hearts of investors, business owners and families, Texas is actually doing comparatively well.

Because we made the conscious decision to hold down spending, cut taxes and create a more predictable regulatory climate, our state is better prepared than most to handle the current crisis.

Add to that our strategic investments with programs like our Emerging Technology Fund, and you can understand why we lead the nation in exports, job creation and Fortune 500 companies.

In these tough times, we need to continue to invest wisely in opportunities that will strengthen our state and create jobs for Texans.

That's why I have asked the Legislature to continue funding strategic investments like the ETF and our Enterprise Fund. They give us a competitive advantage over other states that grows more important by the day.

As companies are driven away from states that heap new taxes and regulatory burdens on their heads, I believe they will continue to seek out Texas. When they get here, they will find a bias for relevant research and a culture of innovation that rewards the best and brightest.

Human capital is a key consideration of our ETF investments. We are always on the lookout for subject matter experts that will propel us to the front of the pack. The Emerging Technology Fund makes it worth their while to choose Texas because it gives them the resources they need to succeed.

We are certainly doing that with this $5.5 million investment, which has made it possible to welcome THE subject matter expert in this field to Texas.

Like the Swedish settlers who came to Texas some 160 years ago, ready to seize the opportunity our state has always presented, Dr. Jan-Ake Gustafsson has come to make a difference, and we thank you for choosing Texas.

I am confident this partnership between the University of Houston and Methodist Hospital will be the ideal situation to advance your life's work, improve our understanding of how the body handles disease, and create ways to improve the health of people across the state and around the world.

I hope that you and the team you brought with you will quickly adapt to a great city, a great school, and a great opportunity to do work that will ultimately save lives.

Thank you all for being here. I pray that God will bless our efforts and that, through this collaboration, He will continue to bless the great state of Texas.


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