SSTI Digest

Geography: Texas

Texas Governor Wants $300M Boost for Emerging Technology Fund

Texas Gov. Rick Perry unveiled his budget proposal for fiscal year 2008-09 with an additional $300 million to recapitalize the state’s Emerging Technology Fund (ETF). The program provides loans and grants to commercialization projects with ties to state universities, and to create research centers in key technology areas. The funding would represent a significant expansion of the program, which received $200 million when it was established in 2005 and no new funding in 2006.


Another program, the Texas Enterprise Fund, would receive $182 million to continue its activities. The Enterprise Fund was the predecessor of the ETF and was created in 2003 to attract larger employers to the state. High-tech employers, such as SEMATECH, Samsung, and Texas Instruments have been a particular focus of the program. The program was initially viewed as the state’s leading initiative to create new high-tech jobs. However, the perception may be changing. In 2003 and 2005, the fund received $300 million, the amount proposed for the ETF this year. The increase in funds for ETF, which focuses on smaller, early-stage deals, may represent a shift in priorities for the state.


The proposed budget calls for $21.6 billion for business and economic development, an 11.4 percent increase over FY 2006-07 levels. Additionally, the governor has proposed to sell the state lottery, a move that could generate an estimated $14 billion to invest in secure trust funds. Gov. Perry has suggested that the interest from one of those funds could provide $300 million annually for the state’s new Texas Cancer Research Initiative. The initiative, which would receive $130 million under the governor’s FY 2008-09 budget, provides funds to attract cancer researchers and pay for research projects and facilities.


For more information on Gov. Perry’s FY 2008-09 budget, visit:

Texas Council Will Address State Competitiveness

Governor Urges Pension Fund to Invest in Emerging Tech Companies

Starting in January, a new advisory council within the Texas Governor’s Office will begin work on a long-term strategy to bolster the state’s economic competitiveness. The Competitiveness Council will be charged with designing an overall framework for cooperation between public and private organizations involved in economic development. Gov. Rick Perry will appoint the group’s members by the end of the year.


The governor made the announcement during his keynote address at the Texas Lyceum’s 2006 Public Conference in San Antonio earlier this month. Gov. Perry told the audience of state economic development leaders that the new state strategy devised by the council would be a logical extension of other recent Texas TBED initiatives, such as the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund.


In another keynote address at the Lyceum Conference, Dr. Michael Porter of Harvard Business School highlighted the need for a comprehensive competitiveness strategy to address the challenges faced by the Texas economy. Despite the high number of patents generated by its institutions of higher education and the success of some clusters, such as the oil industry in Houston, Texas has been underperforming in areas such as patents per employee and average wage. Porter recommended targeting specific clusters for development in Texas’s metro areas and provided examples of advisory bodies in other states, such as South Carolina and Massachusetts, which have been formed to oversee cluster-based competitiveness strategies and initiatives.


Though the size and specific membership has not been announced, the council is expected to include industry leaders, university faculty and administration, state regulatory officials, economic development leaders, and experts on K-12 education. The group's strategy is expected sometime next year.


Texas also is considering expanding its public venture capital investments. According to the Austin-American Statesman, Gov. Perry is asking the state’s Teacher Retirement System (TRS) pension fund to invest up to $600 million in companies that receive money from the Emerging Technology Fund (ETF). The $200 million ETF invests exclusively in in-state companies that commercialize new technologies in emerging industries. If TRS agrees to reserve a portion of its investments for ETF awardees, Gov. Perry plans to make similar requests of other state investments funds.


For more information about Gov. Perry’s TBED initiatives, visit


Ramiro Cavazos is resigning as economic development director for the City of San Antonio to become director of research and economic development for the University of Texas Health Science Center, effective Nov. 3.

People & Organizations

John Butler, director of the Institute for Innovation and Creativity, was appointed distinguished scholar and adjunct professor at Babson College.


The University of Texas at El Paso hired Tony Woo as the assistant vice provost for research and technology transfer.

Job Corner: Rice Seeks Baker Institute Fellow

Rice University invites applications for a Baker Institute Fellow (postdoctoral researcher) to lead a new and potentially long-term project sponsored by the Baker Institute of Public Policy, the Computer and Information Technology Institute, and the Fondren Library. This interdisciplinary effort, involving faculty in social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and engineering, will focus on the nature and implications of the transformational effects of technology on many sectors of public and private life. The successful candidate will enjoy broad latitude in coordinating and developing a holistic program involving research seminars, research collaboration with faculty in multiple disciplines, and an on-campus workshop series. A full description of this opportunity and others is available through the SSTI Job Corner:


BioMed SA, a recently founded technology council to promote the development of San Antonio’s health and bioscience community, selected Ann Stevens to serve as its first executive director.


Jim Aanstoos is the new economic development director for the city of San Marcos, Texas.


The San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative (SATAI) announced that James Poage is SATAI's new president and CEO. Poage replaces Randy Goldsmith, who continues as a director.

Texas Puts $50M into Gene Institute

Coming off the heels of the state legislature's approval of a new Emerging Technologies Fund (see the June 13 issue of the Digest), Gov. Rick Perry announced last Saturday that Texas would provide a $50 million grant to establish the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine (TIGM). The Emerging Tech Fund remains untouched, however, as the $50 million will be taken out of the original $295 million appropriated for the governor's discretionary Texas Enterprise Fund.


Randy Goldsmith resigned his position as president and CEO of the San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative (SATAI) Network to become assistant vice president of tech transfer and economic development at the University of Texas at San Antonio. SATAI is currently accepting applications to fill the vacancy (see item below).


Jeff Moseley will replace Jim Kollaer as president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership.