This editorial was published in Wednesday's Rochester Post-Bulletin.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposals to advance biosciences in Minnesota fall short of meeting the needs of Rochester or the state. The Legislature should correct the governor's bioscience investment decisions and follow the recommendations of the Minnesota Bioscience Council.
Far ahead of Pawlenty's meek bioscience proposals are key council recommendations for the Mayo Clinic-University of Minnesota bioscience partnership. The recommendations are crucial ingredients to the state's and Rochester's future and deserve funding this year.
... The weakness of Pawlenty's bonding request was voiced by another bioscience council member, Stephen Oesterle, senior vice president of medicine and technology for Medtronic. At a St. Paul bioscience forum for lawmakers, Oesterle said he was "underwhelmed" by Pawlenty's proposal. Oesterle also said the governor's limited bioscience bonding request had more to do with political correctness than with good ideas. Elde agreed with all of Oesterle's comments.
Next in a hierarchy of bioscience needs, lawmakers would do well to endow university research chairs. Bioscience council recommendations are for up to $50 million to establish five to 10 biotech research chairs.
The award for the research chairs would go to world-class researchers. These individuals would, in turn, each hire a handful of fresh post doctoral researchers looking for work in the bioscience field, specifically under the wing of the established chairs. Also hired would be technicians and other support staff. The basic research that would come from such endowments would be the nucleus that would fertilize the state's bioscience field with new developments.
... Oesterle said companies such as Medtronic rely heavily on state research universities to do the basic research that will lead to medical advancements and opportunities for Medtronic.
Among the most important drivers in the state's economy is the cutting-edge engineering and research that happens in the field of bioscience. This is certainly so for Rochester. The research and development work related to bioscience at Mayo Clinic, IBM, Pemstar and other less well-known companies cannot be overstated.
Oesterle believes bioscience is the future for such institutions and companies. If so, it is also the future for Rochester.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.