Maryland university officials to discuss state's technology competitiveness

The University of Maryland will host a summit April 26 for influential business, education, research and technology leaders from the private and public sectors to explore ways the state can become more competitive in science and technology.

The event, dubbed “Protecting Maryland’s Competitive Edge Summit,” will hold six concurrent sessions on improving science and math in K-12 schools; recruiting engineers and scientists at the university level; establishing a long-term commitment to basic research, job creation and workforce development; technology transfer; and fostering emerging technologies in the energy sector.

There has been a growing concern among federal policymakers that the United States’ standing in the world as a science and technology leader might be slipping. A 2005 study by the National Academy of Sciences titled “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” indicated that the nation might fall behind other countries unless there is some kind of government intervention.

To that end, President Bush in his 2006 State of the Union address announced a federal strategy called the American Competitiveness Initiative to invest $136 billion over 10 years in research and development, improving education and fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.

In a prepared statement, C.D. Mote Jr., the university’s president, said that while there is federal activity on the issue, most of the work must be done on the state, local and grassroots levels.

“It’s the marriage of quality research and a highly trained workforce that attracts investment and ultimately produces technological advances and economic prosperity,” Mote said.

“More investment in public schools and research institutions will help,” he added. “But, as a first step, we need to get researchers, educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and state and local governments on the same page. Can we do more to coordinate goals? Are we getting maximum effect from available scholarships and internships? Are we placing more students in the science pipeline? The more strategic and coordinated we are, the more likely we are to succeed.”

The event will be held in the university’s Stamp Student Union from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It is co-sponsored by 20 organizations, including the state education and business and economic development departments, the Maryland Technology Development Corp. and the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Mid-Atlantic Region.


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