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Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices, Report of a Symposium
to build on in times of energy and environmental concerns. President Barker said that it was, because automotive research intersects all current challenges—energy consumption, pollution, green issues, hybrid technology, and safety. “As solutions to those issues are found—and I hope they are found on our campus—they will influence the kind of research being done in many contexts.” He added that CU-ICAR faculty “are not working on research that’s part of the past, but part of the era just beginning.”
A questioner asked how Clemson’s state has managed to move so quickly. “There’s nothing magic about South Carolina,” answered President Barker. “But one lesson for me was during the last economic downturn the university’s academic budget was cut by about $50 million, and at the same time, the state invested $50 million in economic development funds that came directly to Clemson.” He saw this as a “net shift from investing in basic education to investing in a knowledge-based economy that reflects the priorities of the state. What’s happening to universities around the world is that we still have a responsibility to support the intellectual development of our students—to study Aristotle and ask questions about beauty and truth and the meaning of life. But we also have to do economic development with the state. The trick is to figure out how to do both simultaneously, and be wise about funding. It’s like driving a car on the interstate at 80 mph while you redesign and rebuild the car.”
He was asked about the role of the federal government in making investments in innovation. He said that Clemson has received only a small amount of funding from Washington. “If we’re going to be competitive world-wide,” he said, “we as a nation have to build a knowledge-based economy. How best to help that at the federal level may be to look at successful models at the state level and decide which of those should be supported.”