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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 25, 2006

UI, Rockwell Collins Co-Sponsor D.C. Summit On International Competition

The University of Iowa Office of the Vice President for Research, the UI College of Engineering and Rockwell Collins will co-sponsor a nationwide conference on international competition hosted by the National Academies of Science in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Sept. 28. In addition, the UI and Rockwell Collins will sponsor a delegation from Iowa to attend the event. Iowa is one of 12 states chairing a breakout session to identify nationwide best practices.

"The Convocation on Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing Regions, States and Cities for a Better Economic Future" includes delegates from all 50 states addressing the need for the United States to be competitive in the sciences in order to keep pace in the growing global economy. UI Vice President for Research Meredith Hay said it is essential for U.S. research universities to review their programs to ensure that they are laying the foundation for a strong U.S. research and industrial base far into the future.

"The University of Iowa and Rockwell Collins are taking the lead in advancing science and math education in Iowa and across the nation" said Hay. "We are committed to partnering with industry leaders, such as Rockwell Collins, to support and grow Iowa's competitive edge in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas.

"If Iowa is to position ourselves to be competitive in the global market for innovation and innovative thinkers, it must have the resources to sustain its innovation infrastructure within our great research universities and enable the creation of private sector-university partnerships to enable innovation-based growth. Likewise, if the United States is to maintain its position of pre-eminence we must, as a society, continue to fully support and advance the U.S. system of higher education, and -- equally important -- we must renew our commitment to federal research and education funding," she said.

Rockwell Collins Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Clay Jones said the conference comes at a critical time.

"The United States is on the verge of losing its ability to sustain scientific and technological superiority," he said. "Therefore, we must build public support for making improvements in STEM education and make it a national priority. Another goal is to elevate Iowa as a premiere state that values and delivers this vital form of education."

The Iowa conference attendees include conference co-chairs state Rep. Swati Dandikar and Jeff Rossate of the Iowa Department of Economic Development; Tom Hobson, of Rockwell Collins, who will lead breakout sessions; Tom Sharpe, UI Office of the Vice President for Research, and Fred Streicher, UI College of Engineering. Iowa delegation representatives also will attend, including Dee Baird, Kirkwood Community College; Mark Bowden, Gazette Communications; Cindy Dietz, Rockwell Collins; Ron Fielder, Grant Wood Area Education Agency; Pam Pfitzenmaier, Iowa Department of Education; Jan Reinicke, Iowa State Education Association; Elliott Smith, Iowa Business Council; and Dick Whitehead, College Community School District.

The conference is being held in response to a request by U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Jeff Bingaman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that the NAS prioritize 10 actions that policymakers might take to enhance U.S. science and technology. The NAS formed a committee that issued a report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," which concludes that as much as 85 percent of measured growth in U.S. per capita income is due to technological change. The NAS charge to university and business experts to provide expertise on how policymakers can help maintain a U.S. technological edge comes at a time when many countries, especially Asian nations, are entering new world markets.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,