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Mississippi S&T Policies Taking Shape

September 01, 2000

Unprecedented Goals, Unparalleled Progress, a report released in early August by Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove, calls for the state to address several issues to better position the state to compete in the New Economy. Elements of the plan affecting the state’s science and technology base include:

  • making best use of knowledge-based resources through Mississippi by making the ‘University Connection’ through a cluster approach to economic development and university research in areas such as biosciences, engineering, supercomputing and polymers
  • enhancing the information infrastructure to support community and capacity building by hiring a chief technology officer within the Mississippi Development Authority (formerly the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development) to explore methods to broaden access to the state’s telecommunication backbone
  • matching incentives and innovations to the needs of the New Economy, including having the Mississippi Development Authority serve as a conduit to connect venture capital resources with university-based R&D and start-up opportunities for commercial ventures
  • creating an office in Washington DC to pursue and secure federal research dollars

A cluster study completed for the plan by Dr. Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School was funded in part by the state’s new lead organization for science and technology, Mississippi Technology, Inc. Currently seeking its first CEO, MTI has received $1.5 million as seed funding from the state to promote technology-related economic development.

In presenting the plan on August 7, Governor Musgrove called for a special session of the state legislature on August 28 to pass "Advantage Mississippi," a package of economic development initiatives intended to make Mississippi “America’s State of Promise.” This past Wednesday, the state legislature approved much of the package, which created tax credits for new job creation in less developed and rural areas, authorized regional economic development partnerships across state lines, and permits the reorganization of the Mississippi Development Authority along a cluster approach.