USU dedicates USTAR Bioinnovations Building

Utah State University administration, faculty, and students, guests from the community and legislators came together for the new USTAR (Utah Science Technology and Research) BioInnovations Building ribbon cutting and dedication Thursday.USU Provost and Executive Vice President Ray Coward said, “In the coming months and days and years, this place will be a beehive of activity. People will rise early in the morning to be here and work here. People will stay late at night, burning the midnight oil, and they will work on weekends to discover the new knowledge that we seek.”President and CEO of Zion’s Bank Scott Anderson called Sen. Lyle Hillyard, Rep. Fred Hunsaker and House Speaker Dave Clark, who were all in attendance Thursday, “some of USTAR’s heroes.” The three conference rooms located in the northeast corner on each of the three levels will be named in their honor.Thursday’s speakers included Anderson, Coward, USU Vice President for Strategic Ventures and Economic Development Ned Weinshenker and Gov. Gary Herbert.Anderson said the main function of the new building is to take ideas “from campus to the people” by commercializing researcher’s concepts and innovations. He also said USTAR has had a tremendous impact on the economy, by creating companies and jobs throughout the state.”A USA Today report found that cities with research universities weather this economic recession better and were pulling out of it faster than cities without research universities, and that is true here in Logan, where unemployment is one of the lowest among the the Utah’s metro areas and the second lowest in the country,” Anderson said. Anderson said by 2036 USTAR promised research from the USTAR initiative would bring $4.9 billion in new external research funds to Utah, create 422 new companies, generate 123,406 new jobs and return $5 billion annually to the state in tax revenues to support education. This promise “is paying off,” he said.In less than four years, the initiative has captured more than $700 million in federal and industry grants for USTAR research – nearly double the state’s investment in USTAR. It has created almost 2,000 jobs, 7 companies and 37 patents have already been filed, Anderson said.”The simple truth is that USTAR is having a tremendous impact on our economy, and it is having a positive impact on Utah State University and the greater Logan community,” he said.In the ribbon cutting ceremony, Herbert used a professional kitchen knife from the building’s Center for Advanced Nutrition kitchen.After the speeches and the ceremonial ribbon cutting, tours were given to guests of the new, three-level BioInnovations building.The new building is located at 650 E. Grand Avenue, right next to the USTAR building that has been on USU’s Innovation Campus for 4 years. According to a press release, the new building will triple the current size of the USTAR complex at USU. The new building will house the Center for Advanced Nutrition, Synthetic Bio-Manufacturing Center and Veterinary Diagnostics and Infectious Disease labs.The 110,000-square-foot building will be open for occupancy in December. It holds many open lab spaces and high tech equipment including a surgical suite for pigs and goats. According to the press release, USTAR was funded in March 2006 by the state legislature and is based on three program areas: recruiting world-class researchers at the University of Utah and USU, building state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facilities at both schools and creating ties with companies across the state to commercialize innovations and ideas created through USTAR. – rachel@cvdaily.com

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