LAYTON, Utah – Curt Roberts, the recently hired vice provost for Innovation & Economic Development at Weber State University, has hit the ground running after arriving at the university less than a month ago.
He already is optimistic that his work will begin paying dividends shortly. “We’re just getting started, but we’re already seeing some ideas that could be commercialized in the reasonably near term,” Roberts said.
On March 6 he presented his office’s objectives to the university’s Board of Trustees at Weber State University Davis (2750 N. University Park Blvd.).
Roberts, who came to WSU after serving as the vice president and general manager of Vision, Timing and Techlab at Nike, is the director of the new technology innovation center on campus, which supports the Utah Science, Technology and Research (USTAR) economic development initiative. His presentation focused on the center’s goal to meet the USTAR mission of helping local companies, entrepreneurs and researchers.
At Tuesday’s meeting Roberts discussed his office’s initial efforts. “My role is to work with faculty, local businesses and key employers, and the investment community to help form new businesses and create new economic opportunities within existing businesses in the area,” he said.
USTAR is an innovative, far-reaching effort to bolster Utah’s economy with high-paying jobs. Utah already excels in research and development, bringing in more than $400 million each year in research grants. USTAR is intended to accelerate this research and development funding so that new products and services can be licensed and commercialized sooner. Conservative projections developed by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research suggest that over 30 years, this investment will create 123,400 new jobs in Utah and generate $5 billion in new tax revenues for the state.
The USTAR initiative is being sponsored by the Utah Information Technology Association, Utah Life Science Association, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation of Utah.
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