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ABI breaks ground on ASU incubator.

Arkansas State University broke ground recently on a business incubator that will be part of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute at the Jonesboro campus.

The work is funded through a $1.75 million Commerce Department grant awarded earlier this year. Gov. Mike Beebe was on hand for the Sept. 26 ceremony.

The Biosciences Institute has been operating for five years, funded with $20 million from the state's $1.8 billion settlement with tobacco companies. The center has since received grants to study the effects of nicotine and to conduct other research.

The business incubator will serve as an innovation center and help small businesses develop based on research by the institute. The grant was issued with the region's economic development in mind.

When the incubator is at full capacity, it will have a dozen labs.

The facility is also to coordinate with the Delta Center for Economic Development to help rural communities that have been affected by natural disasters.

Carole Cramer, the institute's executive director, said 60 graduate students and 200 undergraduates had studied in the institute. She said instruction had been the first job of the center, with research a close second.

Cramer said the center was frequently a stop for visits by students, from kindergarten through high school, geared toward encouraging them to pursue science careers.

U.S. Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., was on hand for the ceremony and noted the long history of cooperation that helped the center develop.

"Something like this doesn't happen unless everybody in the community works together," Berry said. "Care for it, nurture it, and it will continue to yield."
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Title Annotation:Innovation Briefs
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Oct 5, 2009
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Next Article:Federal grant will help create Arkansas Research Network.

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