Life sciences corridor discussed
Tuesday, March 5, 2002
The Asociated Press
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Right now it's just an idea: to develop a partnership for life sciences research between universities, research institutes and government entities from St. Louis to Kansas City.
But if the idea is realized, a so-called "Life Sciences Corridor" would be advantageous to the state, officials said Monday at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Sen. Kit Bond, University of Missouri-Columbia Chancellor Richard Wallace and others elaborated on the idea at a panel discussion that was part of the university's annual Molecular Biology Week.
A life sciences corridor could take advantage of an industry that Bond said has already grown from an $8-billion industry eight years ago to about $22 billion in 2002.
"We're going to make sure that as those numbers continue to grow up, the Missouri component grows as well," Bond said. "As I've said, I think this new technology will offer help, energy and environmental benefits perhaps unprecedented in history."
Bond is credited with garnering federal funding for the University of Missouri's life sciences center. He said he will continue to seek congressional support for the I-70 corridor. But he also said Missouri can benefit by recruiting researchers and research projects from Europe, where there has been much more opposition to life-sciences research than that in the United States.
"That's their loss, and I think that can be our gain," Bond said.
More than 600 University of Missouri faculty across six colleges and schools are involved in life-sciences research. But to continue to improve its status as a life-sciences research institute, the university must "streamline" some of what it does and welcome commercial partners.
"If society is to reap the harvest in its investment in our basic research," Wallace said, "then I think we must encourage our faculty entrepreneurs and we must encourage the process of commercialization."