One of five panelists invited from across the nation, Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president for research and development, will join the Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, senior government economic officials, and members of the private sector.
“UT was selected based on our national leadership in renewable energy, technology transfer, technology incubation and cluster-based economic development,” Calzonetti said. “The University of Toledo is a great example of a university that is helping to transform an economy in need to new solutions.”
As an example, Calzonetti pointed to the Northwest Ohio Partnership for Alternative Energy Systems National Science Foundation project as one of the best examples of how universities can partner with government and the private sector in creating regional innovation economies.
“Our research in solar energy is nationally recognized and the fact that the University has played an important role in moving this research into commercial development separates UT from many other universities,” Calzonetti said.
Calzonetti, the only speaker representing higher education, will join John Fernandez, assistant secretary, Economic Development Administration, and Joyce Ferris, founder and managing partner, Blue Hill Partners, for a discussion on invention and innovation. A second panel on commercialization and competitiveness will follow.
These discussions will inform the White House and Department of Commerce leaders on ways that the United States can develop a strong innovation system to take global leadership in clean energy, Calzonetti said.
“It’s a great opportunity to promote the role that universities can play in regional economic transformation but also to highlight the need for additional funding to help advance this effort,” Calzonetti said. “While UT has placed economic development and community engagement as a priority — and this is viewed very favorable by national leaders who are eager to see the development of innovation economies in areas that badly need it — little funding exists for this activity at the national level.”
UT has established the framework for its economic engagement and development efforts in a recently published book by UT President Lloyd Jacobs and Eva Klein titled The Relevant University: Making Community and Economic Engagement Matter.