Monday, November 3, 2008

President Shelton Delivers Keynote Address at IdeaFunding 2008

[Source: Johnny Cruz, University of Arizona Communications] - University of Arizona President Robert N. Shelton reinforced his and the UA's commitment to excellence and innovation during his keynote address at the 2008 IdeaFunding workshop, hosted by the UA's McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship.

Shelton's speech came nearly two years to the day after his Inauguration, when he outlined his vision for the UA to be known as one of America's 10 best public research universities.

IdeaFunding is an annual one-day entrepreneurship workshop, designed for individuals interested in bringing a new product or service to market, early stage companies and individuals exploring entrepreneurial new directions.

"I set the University on this course because I believed then, as I do now, that our very future as a research university rests on our capacity to be a top university," Shelton said during his speech. "In this era of heightened competition for dwindling resources, only the best of the best can survive."

Shelton told the attendees that, even during a local and national economic downturn, the UA remains uniquely positioned to achieve its goals and to contribute to a knowledge-based economy.

"It's why we're undergoing our UA Transformation process, to find new and better ways to conduct the business of the modern land-grant university while establishing greater fiscal durability to weather the waxing and waning of our economy," Shelton said. "Amid these times, my confidence in the UA is as high as it has ever been, and that is so because of the quality that sustains us."

Shelton cited several examples of work taking place at the UA that could not be found at any other university, including:

Leadership of the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission to Mars led by a public university.
The iPlant Collaborative, a $100 million project awarded to the UA by the National Science Foundation last year.

Unique contributions to health research and education.

Shelton also acknowledged the value of having one of the nation's leading entrepreneurship programs in Tucson and the University's contribution to the economy and quality of life in the region.

"The UA's commitment to community and industry partnership is prepared to not just meet with industry at likely and predictable insertion points, but rather in an ongoing and intimate manner – one that reflects the continual overlap of the knowledge-based economy and the source of knowledge creation and transfer," Shelton said.

Much of the content of IdeaFunding 2008 was devoted to the important first phase of the venture start-up process: idea generation. The workshop explored the five key elements of idea generation: where do ideas come from, making the eventual market your beacon, the role of intellectual property, building a successful team and funding your idea.

The event also featured an address by John May, managing partner of New Vantage Group, and the UA 2008 Anheuser-Busch Angel-in-Residence.

The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, established in 1984, is a pioneer in university entrepreneurship. The capstone program, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, offers degree and/or associate programs to graduate and undergraduate students from all UA fields of study. The McGuire Center has been consistently ranked in the top 5 percent of all programs since its inception, including No. 2 by Entrepreneur/The Princeton Review and No. 6 globally by Financial Times.

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