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MINNESOTA TECHNOLOGY SUBMITS TECHNOLOGY POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO GOVERNOR, LEGISLATURE

 MINNESOTA TECHNOLOGY SUBMITS TECHNOLOGY POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
 TO GOVERNOR, LEGISLATURE
 MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Minnesota Technology, Inc. today submitted to the Governor and the Minnesota Legislature its recommendations for a science and technology policy for the state.
 The recommendation outlines five policy principles intended to help guide future investments made by the state in the area of science and technology.
 "Technology is, and always has been, a key to higher paying jobs and a more prosperous standard of living for Minnesota," said John Yngve, the chairman of Minnesota Technology who also serves as chief science adviser to the Governor and the Legislature. "This is especially important given the state of the economy. Investments in science and technology today support the long-term developments of the state's infrastructure and will strengthen Minnesota's industrial base."
 Specifically, the policy recommends that the state evaluate future investments in science and technology based on their potential to:
 1) encourage and support innovation and development of new technologies;
 2) support industrial modernization and technology transfer;
 3) strengthen research and development partnerships between industry and academia;
 4) develop a literate and technologically skilled workforce; and
 5) take advantage of opportunities in technology development.
 "We believe these five areas are critical to creating an environment in Minnesota that is conducive to the growth and expansion of technology-based companies, and to improving the ability of existing companies to compete," said Yngve.
 Yngve also indicted that Minnesota Technology will be working with the Governor and the Legislature during the coming session to introduce the policy recommendation as a bill, so as to formalize a state policy and further public discussion on the issue.
 "If adopted, a policy such as this will serve as a framework for the Governor and the Legislature as they allocate state funds to be expended on science and technology," he said.
 A public, nonprofit corporation, Minnesota Technology works with industry in using modern techniques and technologies to compete more effectively in the global marketplace. The corporation is also responsible for developing policies for the state in relation to science and technology, and serves as the focus for the state's technology development initiatives.
 Minnesota Technology has six offices, which are located in Moorhead, Redwood Falls, Rochester, the Twin Cities, St. Cloud and Virginia, Minn. Staff in these offices work with companies to assist them in reducing costs and improving their productivity, profitability and product quality.
 MINNESOTA TECHNOLOGY, INC.
 TECHNOLOGY POLICY
 TO: Gov. Arne H. Carlson and the Minnesota Legislature
 The following technology policy recommendations are submitted in the form of policy principles intended to help guide future investments made by the state in the area of science and technology. This policy is a flexible document and should be subject to both legislative and public input.
 The policy does not attempt to prioritize potential areas of investment nor does it estimate the cost of such an investment. Rather this initial effort is designed to develop a consensus on critical elements which will contribute to Minnesota's future economic growth.
 Several underlying premises shape this document. These need to be understood for the policy to be accepted by the general public. The premises include:
 1) The technology community plays a critical role in the economy of Minnesota. It directly accounts for more than 20 percent of all non- farm employment in Minnesota. The industry produces value-added products which lead to high-skilled, high paying jobs, future opportunities for our children and ultimately lead to a higher standard of living.
 2) Following on the example of Japan and Western Europe, government can play a role in working with industry to gain the competitive edge.
 3) Technology should not be defined as "high-tech" only. It is not limited to the development of new technologies, but also incorporates the effective use of "off the shell" technology by existing companies.
 4) Given scarce resources, we must recognize that we cannot excel at everything. Strengths must be defined and investments made on the basis of quality and excellence.
 TECHNOLOGY POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
 The technology policy recommendations outlined below list five goals which contribute to Minnesota's long-term economic growth. Investment in these areas is critical if we are to create an environment which is conducive to the growth and expansion of technology-based companies, as well as improving the competitive ability of existing industries.
 ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT INNOVATION & DEVELOPMENT OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES
 Minnesota has a long tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship. However, with the dramatic changes taking place in the global economy, the pace of technological change and shortened product life cycles, young companies are finding it increasingly difficult to compete effectively without appropriate resources.
 These entrepreneurs and the emerging technology-based companies represent the future of Minnesota's economy. In order to give these individuals and young companies a greater chance at success, the state should support excellence in innovation and nurture the creative spirit of this sector by providing incentives to spur growth.
 SUPPORT FOR INDUSTRIAL MODERNIZATIONS & TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
 The vast majority of Minnesota companies, both in rural and metropolitan areas, are small firms employing fewer than 50 employees. These firms generally lack the resources to identify and implement available technologies that can help them develop their products in a more efficient manner. This is particularly pronounced in the manufacturing area.
 The state should play a critical role in improving the competitive ability of these firms by making available information, technical expertise and other services required to access existing, off-the-shelf technologies.
 STRENGTHEN RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN INDUSTRY & ACADEMIA
 While continued research & development is a prerequisite to the commercialization of new products and the growth of technology-based companies, this area is primarily the responsibility of private industry.
 State government should play a significant role in supporting applied R&D initiatives through Minnesota's university community. To maximize the impact, these investments in R&D should be closely tied to the research needs of the state's industrial/technology community.
 DEVELOPMENT OF A LITERATE & TECHNOLOGY SKILLED WORKFORCE
 To compete in the future, communities will have to increasingly rely on knowledged-based economies. Not only will the workforce of the future need to be more technically skilled than at present, but the basic level of literacy will also have to continually increase.
 State government must continue to invest extensively in Minnesota's human capital. Not only will we need more scientists and engineers in the future, but this investment is required throughout the educational system from K-12, to vocational education and through the Ph.D level.
 TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES IN TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
 In addition to the above four critical elements, the state should also be prepared to act on individual opportunities which may occur from time to time and which would enhance Minnesota's technology infrastructure.
 This could take the form of investing in a statewide telecommunications network, matching federal funds for science & technology initiatives or matching industry support for the development of research facilities.
 -0- 01/06/92
 /CONTACT: Joyce Johannson of Minnesota Technology, 612-338-7722/ CO: Minnesota Technology, Inc. ST: Minnesota IN: SU:


DS -- MN008 -- 7006 01/06/92 15:32 EST
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