Director of LSU’s Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization: Guest commentary: It is time to help build Baton Rouge’s tech-based economy _lowres

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Most metropolitan centers with thriving economies are (or have been) built around strong research institutions. Baton Rouge is no different.

Research — whether at a university or not — can result in technology that can be commercialized. This commercialization process can spur the economy by creating companies, which create jobs that employ our workforce, including recent graduates.

However, the data indicates that federal funding for research, as a percentage of all research and development nationally, has been declining steadily for several decades, while industrial research, as a percentage of all research and development nationally, has been increasing over the same time period.

I encourage you, as a resident of the state, to step up and support LSU research.

We have the opportunity to build a strong technology-based economy. Here is how we can work together:

1) If you own, operate, manage or work at a company that needs research expertise, come to LSU to see what we have to offer.

2) If you are an entrepreneur who is interested in starting a new business based on early-stage technologies, come to LSU to see what we have to offer.

3) Finally, if you are looking for some way to give back to the Baton Rouge region and the LSU community, we can use your support to help mentor, guide and support LSU faculty and graduate students who are exploring entrepreneurship associated with technology development and commercialization.

You may be surprised at the diverse research and development opportunities available here.

As for the third item, I am working closely with university faculty, staff and administration to emphasize the importance of technology commercialization and how it impacts economic development in our region.

We are looking for dedicated and experienced individuals to volunteer to work with LSU faculty on the commercialization journey.

Specifically, we are working to foster an environment where faculty are matched with a commercialization mentor from outside the university. This mentor would provide real-world insights and guidance into the market applications and market needs associated with a specific area of research and technology development.

This program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps), which is geared toward helping train the next generation of entrepreneurs. I-Corps aims to develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystem by helping discoveries from fundamental research become new technologies that benefit society.

On Thursday, Oct. 1, at noon, you are welcome to attend an informational meeting at LSU’s Hill Memorial Library that will provide an overview of the program. This session is open to the public, and I encourage you to attend to learn how you can support a growing, technology-based economy here in the Baton Rouge region. To attend, please register at http://bit.ly/LSUI-Corps.

I am excited to help link industry partners in the region to early-stage technologies that are being developed at LSU. This linkage is critical to the future economic viability of our city, region and state.

We have the right recipe for success and need to capitalize on the great potential that LSU and Baton Rouge bring to the region.

Andrew J. Maas is director of LSU’s Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization.