Archive for Saturday, October 2, 2004

Summits aim to kick-start Kansas bioscience efforts

October 2, 2004


State economic development leaders are ready to start brainstorming about the future of the life sciences in Kansas.

They'll travel the state next week -- beginning with a stop Monday in Lawrence -- to get ideas about how Kansas can capitalize on an anticipated bio boom.

"It's the first kick-start to the process of developing that road map," said Tracy Taylor, president and CEO of the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp.

The six bioscience summits are sponsored by KTEC, with support from Kansas Bioscience Assn. and the Department of Commerce. KTEC, a state-operated nonprofit funded through lottery and racing money, focuses on economic development. The bioscience association is an independent, nonprofit group recently formed to promote life sciences in the state.

The Lawrence summit will be from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Dole Institute of Politics, on Kansas University's west campus. Additional events are planned Monday in Overland Park, Tuesday in Manhattan, Wednesday in Hays and Thursday in Pittsburg and Wichita.

The meetings will be facilitated by Julie Edge, a Mission Hills business consultant, and include a presentation by Richard Seline, founder of New Economy Strategies, which has been studying the potential economic impact of biotechnology in Kansas.

Ted Haggart, president of Douglas County Bank and co-organizer of the Lawrence event, said he hoped the events would spawn proposals to the Kansas Bioscience Authority, which recently was appointed to oversee the dispersal of funds generated by the Kansas Economic Growth Act. Haggart also co-chairs a Life Science Task Force organized by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

"They have to figure out how to fund it, how to go about it and how quickly the projects will start," Haggart said.

The act, approved this year by the Legislature, is expected to lead to more faculty, better research facilities and incentives for businesses to develop or relocate in Kansas, among other benefits.

A Lawrence summit to gather ideas about life sciences will be from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Dole Institute of Politics, on Kansas University's west campus.

Taylor said he hoped the summits also encouraged leaders to think about local ways to spur life-science growth. Though much of the focus of the Economic Growth Act has been on Kansas State University, KU and the KU Medical Center, he said the act was designed to encourage economic development throughout the state.

"It's not strictly about Wyandotte (County), Johnson (County), Lawrence and Manhattan," Taylor said. "It's about the entire state. It's a good opportunity to get the message out around the state and get input from people."

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