Common action will yield returns

Rhode Island is filled with brilliant, creative people, the ones who make a difference. Featured on Page 1 of this week’s edition is Sean C. Deoni, an assistant professor of engineering at Brown University. More

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PBN Editorial

Common action will yield returns

Posted 2/24/14

Rhode Island is filled with brilliant, creative people, the ones who make a difference. Featured on Page 1 of this week’s edition is Sean C. Deoni, an assistant professor of engineering at Brown University.

Deoni has figured out how to take MRI images of infants without sedating them, thus allowing other researchers studying human development to get a view into the earliest stages of brain growth. Both in terms of the methodology and the research, we are witnessing ground-breaking work.

At the same time, as the other story on Page 1 documents, the metro area is not generating the number of patents that it should. In today’s world, that can mean the difference between having a thriving economy or not.

The issue of how we identify, nurture and ultimately develop intellectual and economic competitive advantages should be central to any economic-development approach. It certainly is for any enterprise looking to survive beyond the next few years.

One corner of the puzzle is being filled in by the region’s research universities, which have rededicated themselves to technology transfer and the creation of new companies from the advances made by students and faculty.

Another key component is the R.I. Science and Technology Advisory Council, which awards grants that help researchers from disparate institutions collaborate on projects they would not have been able tackle on their own.

In both cases, Rhode Island has recognized common purpose and summoned the will to expend resources to support that end. There is no other way. •

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