Thursday is turning out to be a busy day for politicos in and around Kent. First, Governor Ted Strickland will be arriving at Kent State early this afternoon to tour the 3D Biology Lab and Liquid Crystal Institute. And later this afternoon, Senator Sherrod Brown will be in Ravenna checking in with his constituents. It’s not often we get such distinguished visitors, so Mayor Fender and I will be part of the welcoming committee at both events in hopes of sharing a few of Kent’s legislative needs and priorities in between thanking them for their continued support of northeast Ohio.
With Kent State employees contributing 35% of the total income tax revenues that keep City services running, the state of higher education funding in Ohio is very important to the state of Kent’s economy, so we’ll be listening very closely to what the Governor has to say this afternoon. I know he’s put forth a tuition stabilization effort that in the long run promises more money to state universities, but in the short run puts pressure on university budgets.
Last Tuesday, the Ohio Board of Regents, the University System of Ohio and the Third Frontier commission agreed that they should combine financial resources totaling $122 million to propel our state’s higher education university system and economy forward.
Kent State was already a recipient of $8 million in the last round of Third Frontier funding, and given Dr. Lefton’s desire to grow the research capabilities of the University, this agreement sounds like great news for Kent.
Here’s the details of the announcement that the Governor announced last week:
|8.21.07 – Governor Strickland Announces $122 Million Partnership Between Ohio Third Frontier and University System of Ohio|
Columbus, Ohio – Governor Ted Strickland today announced the approval of a $122 million partnership between the Ohio Third Frontier Project and the University System of Ohio to significantly increase the state’s investment in cutting-edge scholarship and centers of excellence at Ohio’s colleges and universities.
“This partnership creates an unprecedented and powerful collaboration between the Ohio Third Frontier Project and higher education,” Strickland said. “The pledge announced today reinforces our administration’s commitment to building on our existing strengths in research and technology to bring the best talent to Ohio, and keeping them here.”
The new partnership, approved at the Ohio Third Frontier Commission meeting Tuesday, will recruit senior scholar research talent from disciplines directly related to the five technology focus areas defined for the Third Frontier Project: advanced materials; biosciences; information technology; power and propulsion; and instruments, controls, and electronics.
“This proposed joint funding program involves a close collaboration of the Third Frontier Project with the University System of Ohio and guarantees that our research goals are fully aligned with the State’s economic development strategies,” said Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut. “This use of combined funding to endow and equip world-class research scholars at our universities underscores the importance of innovative academic research to the success of Ohio’s ongoing technology commercialization initiatives.”
The Ohio Third Frontier Project will provide $72 million for the recruitment program, and the University System of Ohio will fund the remaining $50 million from the Ohio Research Scholars Program that was initiated with the enactment of House Bill 119. This program makes the Commission and the University System of Ohio partners in the oversight and approval process for funding recommendations, aligning their shared goals in science and technology.
“This action by the Chancellor and the Commission deepens and leverages the Ohio Third Frontier Project by combining Third Frontier funds with funds from the University System of Ohio in a joint competitive process consistent with the mission of the Third Frontier Project. This demonstrates the drive and vision to elevate Ohio to the next level in research and commercialization,” said Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, who also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Development and Chair of the Third Frontier Commission. “Our goal is to work every day to create and retain well-paying jobs for Ohioans, and this collaborative effort demonstrates that it is the role of every state agency to further economic development.”
“The ability to attract high-quality research talent is critical in becoming a nationally and internationally known industry leader,” said Mark Collar, Chairman of the Third Frontier Advisory Board and President, Special Assignment, The Procter & Gamble Company. “Nurturing the resources to keep that talent can be the key to bringing projects to successful commercialization.”
Members of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission and Chancellor Fingerhut will develop a joint request for proposals to offer talent-attraction grants consisting of funding components including operational support for endowed chairs and research personnel, as well as capital support for the acquisition of scientific facilities and equipment. Private research institutions are also eligible to participate in this initiative.
The Ohio Third Frontier Project is a 10-year, $1.6 billion initiative to expand Ohio’s high-tech research capabilities by building world-class capacity and financing manufacturing technologies to build on Ohio’s existing industries.
It surprised me to learn that for years the state support for higher education has declined to the point where Kent State only receives 23% of its funding from Columbus — the other 77% is tuition and fee supported. I’m guessing the Governor will talk about how he hopes the new agreement will begin to turn the tide on state funding.
Here’s the details on the Governor’s visit today in Kent:
Ohio Gov. Strickland to Visit Kent State, Hold Press Conference to Discuss Higher Education – Aug. 30
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will tour Kent State University’s 3-D Immersive Classroom and learn about the university’s liquid crystal technology biological applications on Thursday.
A press conference will be held following the campus visit to discuss Ohio’s higher education initiatives, including the new University System of Ohio.
Press Conference – 2:10 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 30
Kent Student Center’s Risman Plaza
The press conference will be available via a live Webcast beginning at 2:10 p.m. Watch the Webcast live from your computer. (Note: the Webcast link will not be live until a few minutes before the event.)