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 Growing Innovation Clusters for
American Prosperity
June 3, 2009

On June 3, STEP’s Committee on Best Practice in State and Regional Innovation Initiatives hosted a conference titled “Growing Innovation Clusters for American Prosperity” in Washington, DC.  Opened by Susan Crawford, the White House Advisor for Science, Technology, and Innovation, the conference brought together Arizona State University President Michael Crow and the University of Akron President Luis Proenza along with a diverse group of practitioners and experts from around the country with direct experience in the development and growth of innovation clusters.  Karen Mills, the new Administrator for the Small Business Administration, gave the conference luncheon address emphasizing the contributions of small business and the government’s role in facilitating their creation and growth.  A wide range of topics were discussed including the role of clusters in promoting economic growth, the federal government’s role in stimulating clusters, the contributions of universities and state programs--such as the California stem cell initiative--to cluster development, and the role of foundations in building workforce competency and supporting university growth.

Speaker Presentations


-Charles Wessner, The National Academies

 Panel 1: Why Clusters Matter: Innovation Clusters and Economic Growth

"Cluster Development: A Path to Growth"
---Maryann Feldman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
"Stimulating Regional Economies: The Federal Role"
---Andrew Reamer, Brookings

 Panel 2: Government Role in Stimulating Clusters

"Regional Innovation Clusters:  The Obama Administration’s Innovation Initiative"
---Jonathan Sallet, Glover Park Group
"New York’s Nano Initiative"
---Pradeep Haldar, University at Albany-SUNY
"NIST’s Technology Innovation Program--Connecting the Dots"
---Marc Stanley, National Institute of Standards and Technology

 Panel 3: State and Regional Initiatives

"Clusters Growing in Pennsylvania"
---Rebecca Bagley, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
"Building and Branding Clusters: Lessons From KTEC and Innovation Philadelphia"
---Richard Bendis, Innovation America
"Opportunities in Virginia"
---John Mathieson, SRI International
"Current Programs in Washington State"
---Egils Milbergs, Washington Economic Development Commission

 Panel 4: The University Connection

"Universities and their Regions:  The Akron Model"
---Luis Proenza, The University of Akron
"University Based Cluster Development"
---David McNamara, South Carolina Research Authority
"California Initiatives"
---Ed Penhoet, Alta Partners

 Panel 5: Filling the Gaps: The Role of Foundations

"2532 Neighborhoods, 992 Cities, 1 Million People:
How Innovation Clusters Are Reviving the Economies that “Urban Renewal” Destroyed"
---Christina Gabriel and Bomani Howze, The Heinz Endowments
"Building the Workforce and the Universities"
---George Bo-Linn, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation