Text of Gov. Rick Perry’s Remarks At NASA on Emerging Technology Fund
Thank you, Lt. General. I am honored to be joined today by my friend Congressman DeLay, and Houston leaders who are working together to improve our quality of life through innovation and laying the foundation for a prosperous future in the high tech economy.
We are here at the Johnson Space Center to illustrate the power of scientific innovation to change the way we live and highlight the need for Texas to increase its investment in emerging technologies. NASA has partnered with private companies to provide them with engineering assistance to help speed the transfer of space technologies to the marketplace. One company that has benefited from the NASA program is Flow Barrier, the maker of portable dams that can help consumers protect their homes and businesses from floodwaters, marine construction workers repair bridges and other infrastructure, and protect wetlands from seawater. Flow Barrier’s dam has already been used right here in Houston to help the Methodist Hospital complete a construction project at their neurosurgery center. And in a part of the state vulnerable to hurricane flooding, the value of a product like this is hard to put in dollars.
Another great success story built by a NASA partnership is that of MicroMed Technology which won NASA’s Commercial Invention of the Year for 2002 for its miniature ventricular assist device that is saving the lives of patients in critical need of a heart transplant. This device has given a new lease on life to more than 280 people across the globe waiting for a donor heart to become available, and it is being tested as a permanent heart replacement for those ineligible for a transplant. Considering that hundreds of patients die every year while on a donor waiting list, the MicroMed artificial heart can revolutionize the practice of cardiology and save an untold number of lives.
What NASA has proven is that when we invest public resources into the development of emerging technology, the possibilities are limitless. The inventions we are highlighting today are just two on a long list that can trace their roots to the space program, a list that includes new methods to detect breast cancer, improved video technology, even WD-40. Today Texas has the opportunity to invest in emerging technologies like these that can transform science and medicine as well as create the jobs that will be the foundation of our future economy by establishing a $300 million Emerging Technology Fund. With an Emerging Technology Fund, we can replicate the successful NASA partnerships with other private sector entities and universities across the state, we can attract top-notch research teams from around the country to Texas institutions of higher learning and we can help start-up companies get off the ground faster so their inventions get to consumers sooner.
Today, start up technology companies are often forced to find investors in other states like California and New York, and those investors reap the benefits when new products achieve commercial success. An Emerging Technology Fund will ensure that benefits from technology innovations accrue to Texas colleges, Texas workers and the Texas economy. Some may say that we don’t need an Emerging Technology Fund when we already have partnerships like these that are bearing fruit. But I ask you to consider how much more we could do to advance science and technology, and build a stronger economy with one. And we must also consider the steps other states are taking to attract the world’s best scientists and new companies that will market their inventions. California, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey and countless others are pumping billions of dollars into the research, development and commercialization of new technologies. If Texas does not take aggressive steps now to invest in emerging sectors of the economy, we will be left behind.
It is estimated that over the next decade, emerging technologies will generate $3 trillion in revenue worldwide. The question is, where will those investments be made and who will reap the benefits? I ask legislators who are setting budget priorities to consider the long-term impact of a $300 million investment in emerging technologies. The return on their investment will be stunning because emerging technologies will be the foundation of the future economy. An Emerging Technology Fund will help ensure that Texas scientists lead the next wave in the technology revolution and that Texas has the competitive edge needed to provide greater opportunity, prosperity and a brighter future for all of our people. Thank you.
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