Contacts: Ken Ray, 503-891-1395 (mobile)
                
Di Saunders, OUS: 503-725-5714
Sources:  Diane Vines, Vice Chancellor Economic Development & External Relations, OUS: 503-725-5707
                Jim Coonan, Director of Business Alliances, OUS: 503-725-5735

Oregon Business and University Leaders Promote Package of Bills to Strengthen and Invest in Oregon's Knowledge-Based Economy

SALEM, February 12 - The Oregon Council on Knowledge and Economic Development (OCKED) today presented its legislative bill package and policy recommendations before key legislative committees.

Allen Alley, President, CEO, and Chairman of Pixelworks, Inc., and the chair of OCKED, provided an overview of the Council's legislative package and objectives in a hearing of the Senate Transportation and Economic Development Committee, and in an informational meeting with the House Trade and Economic Development Committee. Several other leading Oregon business leaders, university officials, researchers, and others also testified in support of the Council's proposals.

Dr. Timothy White, interim president of Oregon State University, spoke about technology transfer and how this relates to workforce issues. Ann Bunnenburg, CEO of Electrical Geodesics, Inc. testified on bioscience opportunities across all parts of the state. Former Sen. Tom Hartung, described the positive outcomes of investing in university-industry partnerships in generating jobs and new technology advances in Oregon. Two Hewlett-Packard executives, Steve Nigro and Frank Cloutier, testified on the critical importance of developing signature research centers to take ideas to market and create new jobs; and how important the OCKED efforts are to the high tech industry in Oregon. Other testimony focused on capital and business formation, Software Association of Oregon support, workforce and entrepreneurial development, and the importance of technology transfer to both metals and traditional industries.

"Today's hearing and meetings were a very important step in helping to familiarize the legislature with the objectives of OCKED, and how the bills can positively impact economic development across Oregon," said Alley. "It is critical that the state develop ways to spur job growth through development of current and new technologies that will help our economy recovery from the current crisis. These bills help to accomplish that important goal," added Alley.

The bills presented by OCKED representatives focused on three important areas:

  • Research and technology transfer - increasing the capacity for high-quality research and development, translating that research into commercial applications, and increasing the value and economic benefit of research and technology transfer;
  • Capital and business formation - increasing the amount of pre-seed, seed and institutional venture capital available to emerging businesses, especially in the technology and bioscience sectors, and developing programs and incentives to deepen management expertise and attract and retain top management talent;
  • Knowledge and workforce development - raising Oregon's commitment to excellence in educating and training its knowledge-based workforce, expanding capacity to meet the growing demand for well-educated knowledge-based workers, and providing expanded education and training opportunities in all areas of the state.

Specific bills on which legislators heard testimony were:

SB 358: Directs community colleges, state institutions of higher education and Oregon Health and Science University to promote commercialization of research and ideas.

SB 359: Directs Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development to develop and implement integrated statewide workforce strategy.

SB 360: Directs State Board of Higher Education to establish signature research center for development of multiscale materials and devices related to nanotechnology and microtechnology.

SB 361: Reduces rate of tax on capital gains of personal income and corporate income and excise for taxpayers.

SB 362: Establishes exemption from personal income tax for certain income of upper-level managers at certain venture capital firms and for certain income of upper-level scientific research personnel at accredited colleges and universities.

SB 363: Supports the Higher Education Technology Transfer (HETT) fund and tech transfer efforts throughout Oregon, including in rural areas and traditional industries.

OCKED was established by the Legislature in the 2001 regular session (SB 273) to identify economic development opportunities and advise public officials and various state agencies in the promotion of knowledge-based economic development in Oregon. OCKED consists of private sector leaders, legislators, educators and economic development officials who have come together to identify short-term and long-term policy and investment initiatives to promote sustained economic growth in Oregon.
The Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning.
The full text of the OCKED report, and additional information on OCKED, can be found online at
www.ous.edu/cpa/OCKED.

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