Gov. Perry Highlights Need for Emerging Technology Fund
NASA partnerships with private sector illustrate potential of fund
Gov. Rick Perry visited the NASA Johnson Space Center today to illustrate how the proposed $300 million Emerging Technology Fund has the potential to foster technology innovation and create new jobs in high-tech sectors of the economy. NASA has partnered with private companies to provide them with engineering assistance to help speed the transfer of space technologies to the marketplace.
"With an Emerging Technology Fund, we can replicate the successful NASA partnerships with other private sector entities and universities across the state, we can attract top-notch research teams from around the country to Texas institutions of higher learning and we can help start-up companies get off the ground faster so their inventions get to consumers sooner," Perry said.
Perry noted the success of companies that have partnered with NASA to develop products to market at a faster rate. Flow Barrier, one of the companies, makes portable dams that can help consumers protect their homes and businesses from floodwaters, allow marine construction workers to repair bridges and other infrastructure, and protect wetlands from seawater.
"Flow Barrier's dam has already been used right here in Houston to help the Methodist Hospital complete a construction project at their neurosurgery center," Perry said. "And in a part of the state vulnerable to hurricane flooding, the value of Flow Barrier's portable dam to homeowners is hard to put in dollars."
Another great success story built by a NASA partnership is MicroMed Technology, which has designed a miniature ventricular assist device that is saving the lives of patients in critical need of a heart transplant.
"This device has given a new lease on life to more than 280 people across the globe waiting for a donor heart to become available," Perry said.
Perry said NASA has proven that wise investments of public resources into the development of emerging technology can yield new products that can change the world.
Under Perry's proposal, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) would have three components.
First, half of the funding, or $150 million, would be dedicated to creating collaborative efforts between institutions of higher education and the private sector to create "Regional Centers of Innovation and Commercialization" that will become hotbeds of research and development activities, incubate start-up firms and lure existing companies that can market new innovations.
Second, one-fourth, or $75 million of the TETF, would be used to match research grants awarded by federal or private sponsors, thereby helping Texas researchers better compete for grants from sponsors who want their funds to have double or more the impact.
Third, one-fourth of the funds, or $75 million, would be used to help make Texas public universities world leaders in technology research by attracting more renowned research teams from other universities.
Perry noted that many states, including California, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, are pumping billions of dollars into high-tech research and development and warned that Texas could be left behind without the Emerging Technology Fund.
"Over the next decade, emerging technologies will generate $3 trillion in revenue worldwide," Perry said. "The question is, where will those investments be made and who will reap the benefits?"
"An Emerging Technology Fund will help ensure that Texas scientists lead the next wave in the technology revolution, and that the financial benefits from marketing technology innovations accrue to Texas colleges, Texas workers and the Texas economy," Perry said.
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