a strong commitment to international cooperation, reflected in his work with a wide variety of countries around the world.

Dr. Wessner’s work addresses the linkages between science-based economic growth, entrepreneurship, new technology development, university-industry clusters, regional development, small-firm finance and public-private partnerships. His program at the National Academies also addresses policy issues associated with international technology cooperation, investment, and trade in high-technology industries.

Currently, he directs a series of National Academy studies centered on government measures to encourage entrepreneurship and support the development of new technologies and cooperation among industry, universities, laboratories, and government to capitalize on the nation’s investments in research. Foremost among these is a congressionally mandated study of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, reviewing the operation and achievements of this $2.5 billion award program for small companies and start-ups. He is also directing a major study on best practice in global innovation programs, entitled Comparative Innovation Policy: Best Practice for the 21st Century. Today’s meeting on “Building the Ohio Innovation Economy” forms part of a complementary analysis entitled Competing in the 21st Century: Best Practice in State & Regional Innovation Initiatives. The overarching goal of Dr. Wessner’s work is to develop a better understanding of how we can bring new technologies forward to address global challenges in health, climate, energy, water, infrastructure, and security.

John West

John L. West, professor of chemistry, joined Kent State University in 1984 as a senior research fellow of the Liquid Crystal Institute. He served as Director of the Liquid Crystal Institute and of the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center, ALCOM from 1996-2002. He served as Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies at Kent State from 2003-2010. During this time he collaborated with Nortech to establish FLEXMatters, a collaboration designed to support the growth of the flexible electronics industry in Ohio. In the summer of 2010 he returned to full time to the faculty at Kent State. He now splits his time between Kent State University and the University of Central Washington, where he is establishing a research foundation and helping to move innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace.

In parallel with his administrative duties, Dr. West maintains an active and productive research program. He has published over 125 articles and holds thirteen U.S. patents related to liquid crystal materials. He concentrates his research on the development of PDLC and cholesteric materials for use in flexible displays and of responsive liquid crystal fibers.

Dr. West earned a B.S. in chemistry from the College of William and Mary, and M.S and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University.

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