More than 150 members of the scientific community from greater Washington, D.C., gathered at the conference center in the new Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington recently for a Meet the Scientists event, organized in the National Capital Region to maximize the opportunities for networking among scientists and to provide a forum for sharing Virginia Tech's research capabilities in the new research center at the National Capital Region, in Roanoke, and in Blacksburg.
Virginia Secretary of Technology Jim Duffey opened the half-day event at the center the week before its official opening.
“It is exciting to be here to celebrate the launch of this Virginia Tech research center. As secretary of technology for the commonwealth, I want to do all I can to build a technology landscape that rewards game-changing [research and development], promotes public-private collaboration, and incentivizes innovation and commercialization,” Duffey said.
"Not only is this building among the best connected research facilities in the world, incorporating next-generation Internet with direct fiber access to National LambdaRail, Internet 2, and multiple federal networks, but it is also home to cutting edge research in energy, sustainability, computational biology, and cyber security,” he continued. “It is technology like this that helps keep the commonwealth consistently ranked as a top state for business.”
The secretary noted that Virginia was recently ranked second nationally by Forbes.com and CNBC as the Best State for Doing Business in 2010. The state also boasts the highest concentration of technology workers and ranks fifth in high tech employment in the United States.
“We all must think creatively, just like Virginia Tech did when it decided to establish this center. We must seek out every opportunity to collaborate across industry, institutional, and geographic boundaries in order to cultivate intellectual property into applications and products capable of supporting and benefiting emerging markets,” Duffey said.
Scientists from a number of Virginia Tech's major institutes and colleges participated in Meet the Scientists which offered six presentations arranged to allow interested parties to have the option of attending up to three sessions. Content focused on health sciences, national security and global processes, and sustainability. Those who participated in the scientific sessions were: College of Engineering, College of Science, Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science , Institute for Society, Culture and the Environment, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute , and Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. Each session provided a brief overview of the research portfolio of the respective institute or college and included short presentations by scientists on their current work. Time was allotted for networking at the end of each presentation, as well as at the beginning and the end of the event.
Representatives from the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation were also available to meet with interested parties. Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and the College of Science provided a display of scientific posters.
Meet the Scientists was cosponsored by Virginia Tech National Capital Region Operations, Virginia Tech Outreach Program Development, business network VT SERGE (Science and Engineering for Regional Growth Enterprise), and VT IDEA (Intelligence and Defense Executive Alumni).
“The feedback on this event was very positive,” said Jim Bohland, vice president and executive director of Virginia Tech National Capital Region Operations. “This is just the kind of event that exemplifies one of the major goals of this new research center in Arlington – to foster an environment that promotes interest in innovative science and technology and collaboration with outside businesses and agencies.”