Dr. Peter Beattie, former Premier of Queensland, Australia, gave the first of four lectures around the State on the Queensland "Smart State" Model. In a relatively short period of time, Queensland went from (to quote John Warner) "rocks, crops and tourism" to a world class biotechnology center.
Dr. Beattie does not believe that SC should try to compete in life sciences beyond several niches like medical devices. (The consultants that are updating Charleston clusters agree with this assesssment.) However, he thinks we have a competitive advantage in areas like biofuels.
He said that the United States has the best universities in the world, but we must continue to invest in research and innovation and then hold the institutions accountable for commercializing the technology. This will be the only way that we can compete with China, which can commit to long term technology objectives without the inconvenience of election cycles. As Dr. Beattie said, "if China develops a cure for lung cancer, and I have lung cancer, I am going to China for the cure."
The next three lectures will be in Charleston on October 27, Clemson Sandhill on November 3 and the Strom Thurmond Institute in Clemson on November 16th. Details, as well as the full text of Dr. Beattie's speech to the SC Commission on Higher Education, are available on the following Swamp Fox link: