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Keynote Address III Introduction Charles Wessner National Research Council Introducing Dr. Barkerâs keynote address, Dr. Wessner noted that the role of research in universities is evolving. While the traditional activity of academic scientists is to perform basic research, recent evidence suggests that academic scientists who collaborate with industry excel in both spheres. This suggests, he said, that universities can play a valuable role in innovation and in the commer- cialization of knowledge than previously assumed.11 President Barkerâs achieve- ments at Clemson University, he said, would provide additional evidence for this point of view; Clemson has raised both its academic standing and its involvement in economic development during his tenure. James Barker Clemson University President Barker began by praising the work of the National Academies and the Association of University Research Parks and âthe leadership of both groups in creating opportunities for policymakers, academic leaders, and scientists to engage with each other in a common purpose.â The common purpose of the two institutions, he said, is that science and technology can advance knowledge âand stimulate economic development, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for 11â Bart Van Looy, Marina Ranga, Julie Callaert, Koenraad Debackere, and Edwin Zimmermann, âCombining Entrepreneurial and Scientific Performance in Academia: Towards a Compounded and Reciprocal Matthew-Effect?â Research Policy 33(3):425-441, April 2004. The authors found that groups that collaborate have a reinforcing effect and generate more fundamental scientific output as well as developmental research, as measured in number of publications. 86
Keynote Address III 87 all the worldâs citizens.â During this time of economic uncertainty, he said, both institutions recognize that their work together is more critical than ever. Concrete solutions to such global issues as renewable energy, safe food supplies, climate change, disease prevention and treatment, and even security are likely to be found on campuses through science and technology advancement, and in many cases in S&T parks. The advantage of collaboration There will always be âeureka momentsâ from solitary researchers working alone in a lab, he said, but we are now discovering that collaboration can be a tre- mendous competitive advantage. He said that Clemson has worked hard to make collaboration a part of campus culture. In this climate, the Clemson University- International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) has been established on a 250-acre campus to create opportunities for collaboration. Designers have intentionally created a âhigh-density campusâ so that researchers from university and industry could not help running into each other: They share parking struc- tures, workout facilities, and eating establishments. âIt is a physical manifestation of a core Clemson beliefâwhich is that innovation is a contact sport.â A result is that the intersection of university and industry accelerates the transfer of research to the marketplace. President Barker gave some of the context for Clemsonâs collaborative cul- ture. The university was founded in the 19th century and named after a man from Philadelphia named Thomas Green Clemsonâan engineer, scientist, artist, and musician educated in Paris. He served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and, in Washington, he met and fell in love with the daughter of statesman John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. He returned with her to her home, which is today a part of the Clemson University campus. He worked to establish a university that would restore the weakened Civil War economy by providing advanced education and scientific experimentation in agriculture and engineering. At his death he left his land, home, and personal fortune to support the founding of Clemson Univer- sity, writing in his will: âI trust that I do not exaggerate the importance of such an institution for developing the material resources of the state.â The university, then, was founded specifically as a driver of economic development. A university commitment to economic development For 120 years Clemson has followed that vision in first serving the stateâs key industries of agriculture, textiles, and ceramics, and more recently sectors such as automotive, advanced materials, and biotechnology. In the 21st century, CU-ICAR is a physical manifestation of Clemsonâs commitment to economic development through innovation. Four years ago, CU-ICAR was 250 acres of undeveloped land along the I-85 corridor between Charlotte and Atlanta, with
88 UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PARKS no master plan, no business plan, no curriculum, and no funding (âa typical university projectâ). Today CU-ICAR includes a 90,000-square-foot graduate engineering cen- ter with world-class faculty holding well-funded endowed chairs. It is the only location offering masters and doctoral degrees in automotive engineering. CU- ICAR houses R&D facilities occupied by BMW and Timken, and has active new partnerships with Michelin, IBM, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Sun Microsystems, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. It is also the first North American home of two international software companies with major automotive and motorsports clients. In all, CU-ICAR has generated more than $220 million in public and private investment and has created more than 500 new jobs with an average salary of $72,000. âAll of this in only four years,â he said. An automotive platform for innovation A critical ingredient in the success of CU-ICAR has been the decision to focus on the automotive sector as a platform for innovation. President Barker described three reasons for this decision: â¢ Vehicle-related R&D has been an area of academic strength since the 1970s when faculty were gaining a reputation in vehicle dynamics and control systems applied to rail vehicles. Model developing, testing, and other research interests evolved into automotive engineering in the 1980s, and into motorsports engineering in the 1990s, where Clemson has been a pioneer. In areas related to vehicle systems and dynamics, Clemsonâs faculties have been national leaders. â¢ Second, the automotive and motorsports sector has been identified by the state as critical to the stateâs current and future economic prosperity. In the 10-county region around Clemson there are 125 automotive suppliers and r Â elated companies, and statewide there are six original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and more than 1,800 automotive-related manufacturing plants and com- panies. There are more OEMs and first-tier suppliers within a 500-mile radius of C Â lemson than in the same radius around Detroit. Further, the Upstate as a region is located directly along the U.S. motorsports racing corridor. Two-thirds of U.S. racing teams are located between Atlanta and Charlotte, and Clemson is exactly mid-way between those two cities. The Charlotte-to-Atlanta I-85 corridor is the eighth largest regional economy in the world,12 and enhancing this cluster is as much a part of Clemsonâs core mission as was rebuilding the war-ravaged state economy in the 19th century. â¢ Clemson has a strong industry partner in BMW âwhich believes that 12â Richard Florida, Tim Gulden, and Charlotta Mellander, âThe Rise of the Mega-Region,â October 2007.
Keynote Address III 89 i Â nnovation is the key to future financial stability and is willing to make a signifi- cant long-term investment to secure that future.â Their investment, in endowing chairs and in economic development incentive funds directed at CU-ICAR, âwas not an act of philanthropy,â he said, âbut a conscious business decision by a company.â Clemson faculty work side-by-side with counterparts from BMW and other firms in developing âcurricula relevant to current and future industry needs, building in such things as language and international study experiences and incorporating industry experience in emission requirements.â President Barker recalled news media reports that have questioned the close relationship between Clemson and BMW, but said there have been no efforts to influence faculty hir- ing, curriculum, or admissions decisions. An effort to integrate disciplines President Barker differentiated between âbeing focused and being narrowly defined.â He said that CU-ICAR focuses on the automotive sector but is not limited to manufacturing. The concept of the program is that âthe automobile can serve as a platform for innovations that can be translated to countless other products and manufacturing processes. Unless youâre a commercial airline Âpilot, the automobile is the most complex system youâll ever operate. It includes hun- dreds of electronic and mechanical components that have to interact constantly and flawlessly with each other and with the external environment, the surface of the road, and human occupants.â The broader goal of the education and research program is to create a workforce of systems engineersâÂâintegration engineers, if you would.â Traditionally, engineers have worked deep in their âone-Âdisciplinary holes,â he said, and the challenge has been to âtie those holes togetherâto produce people who understand and improve how extremely com- plex systems interact with each other and apply these principles to a broad spec- trum of applications.â The essential role of the state He acknowledged that even with those three factorsâa strong faculty, a clearly defined need, and a powerful industry partnerâClemson would not have been able to establish CU-ICAR without state funding. For many years, he said, South Carolina âwatched from the sidelinesâ as neighboring states moved ahead in per capita income, job creation, and development of high-tech industry by leveraging the strength of their state universities. In 2002, the General Assembly decided it was time to catch up and passed a series of legislative programs to encourage Clemson and the other two research universities to accelerate their economic efforts. The timing was right. BMW was also expanding, and when it increased its capacity by investing $400 million and adding 400 new jobs, it qualified for more
90 UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PARKS than $100 million in state incentive funds. The company directed $25 million of those funds toward construction of the graduate engineering center of CU-ICAR and another $15 million toward building a new IT facility adjacent to CU-ICAR. Also in 2002, the state Research Centers of Economic Excellence Act set aside $30 million annually in lottery revenue to fund endowed chairs in areas related to economic development at the three research universitiesâprovided that the university generated matching funds. With private gifts from BMW, Michelin, Timken, and other partners, this program has invested $36 million in endowments to support faculty and students in graduate engineering centers of CU-ICAR. In 2004 the Research Universitiesâ Infrastructure Act offered $210 million for facilities and equipment that these faculty and students would need, once again requiring matching dollars from non-state sources. Clemson received more than $38 million in state funds which would be matched by private sources to help build CU-ICARâs physical plant and infrastructure. These core pieces of legislation, President Barker concluded, created âinstant scale and instant density.â They gave CU-ICAR momentum that might otherwise have taken decades to develop. They also provided a high level of accountability through peer review and oversight by a board of industry and economic develop- ment leaders who made many of the decisions about how to spend those funds. âI canât overstate the importance of effective public policy and designated public funding,â he concluded. âOtherwise we would have had a great idea but no means of turning this idea into reality.â Discussion A questioner asked how Clemson would continue to build on its fast start. President Barker said that the university has a master plan of five neighborhoods and was just completing the first of those five. The next challenge would be to continue that momentum in the face of the current economic downturn. Another challenge, he said, is the wide difference between the pace of government and the pace of private companies. âWeâre in the middle trying to sort through that, another big challenge.â He said he had imagined CU-ICAR as existing âin the overlap between the academy and corporations. The more I looked at the diagram, the less overlap I saw. There is no overlap. The challenge is building a bridge between the two circles.â He was asked about the importance of his own training as an architect. He said that it was critically important, because his education was in âplacemaking,â which he sees as a vital part of the success of a park. âWe wanted to make sure that each building won silver LEED certification and an AIA design award,â he said. âIt has let us see that we have to work harder on our housing component. We have eating establishments, workout facilities, parking structures, but you really donât have placemaking without 24-hour occupancy.â A participant questioned whether the automobile is an appropriate platform
Keynote Address III 91 to build on in times of energy and environmental concerns. President Barker said that it was, because automotive research intersects all current challengesâenergy consumption, pollution, green issues, hybrid technology, and safety. âAs solutions to those issues are foundâand I hope they are found on our campusâthey will influence the kind of research being done in many contexts.â He added that CU- ICAR faculty âare not working on research thatâs part of the past, but part of the era just beginning.â A questioner asked how Clemsonâs state has managed to move so quickly. âThereâs nothing magic about South Carolina,â answered President Barker. âBut one lesson for me was during the last economic downturn the uniÂversityâs aca- demic 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 C Â lemson.â He saw this as a ânet shift from investing in basic education to invest- ing in a knowledge-based economy that reflects the priorities of the state. Whatâs happening to universities around the world is that we still have a responsibility to support the intellectual development of our studentsâto 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. Itâs like driving a car on the interstate at 80 mph while you redesign and rebuild the car.â 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. âIf weâre going to be competitive world-wide,â he said, âwe 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.â