Commentary: GRA Pioneers New Paradigm
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York, recently published a study of how higher education institutions are working to revitalize state economies. Titled A New Paradigm for Economic Development, the report states:
“For much of the twentieth century, states’ economic development efforts centered on incentives, financial packages, cost comparisons, labor policy, permitting requirements, roads and water systems, and so on – things that state governments are comfortable working with, but that do not suffice to meet key challenges for the new economy.
The twenty-first century paradigm, in contrast, is shifting toward putting knowledge first. For states, increasingly, that means connecting their higher education systems more closely to their economic development strategies.”
As the report goes on to describe (p. 14-17), Georgia, through the Georgia Research Alliance, is a pioneer of this “new paradigm.” Throughout its 20 year history, GRA has brought together the state’s academic, business and government leaders to capture and leverage the enormous economic development impact of our research universities. Its strategic investments in top scientific talent (GRA Eminent Scholars), research infrastructure, and research commercialization (GRA VentureLab), have helped to bring some 2.6 billion new dollars in private and public funding into Georgia’s economy, generated more than 175 new, high-value companies from university research and created nearly 5,500 knowledge-economy jobs.
With continued investment and aggressive new initiatives, GRA offers the promise of remaining, as the Rockefeller Institute concludes, “perhaps the most comprehensive research-to-implementation strategy in any state.”
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