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Nixon Details Science, Technology Jobs Legislation at BRDG Park

December 18, 2009

St. Louis Community College biotechnology students meet Gov. Jay Nixon.  
Aliyah Sulaiman, biotechnology student at St. Louis
Community College, meets Gov. Jay Nixon during his
recent visit to BRDG Park. Also pictured is Lamont Jones,
left, a graduate of the biotechnology program, and pro-
gram coordinator Eilene Lyons, standing next to Nixon.

Gov. Jay Nixon has outlined a new initiative that will create stable, ongoing funding to attract and retain high-tech scientific and research jobs in Missouri.

The governor detailed this proposal during recent visits to BRDG Park at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis and Synbiotics, an animal-health diagnostics company in Kansas City.

The Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) is a key component of Nixon's Missouri First Initiative, a comprehensive legislative proposal designed to get Missourians back to work, educate Missourians for the careers of tomorrow, and harness innovation and technology to revolutionize government and business.

"We face tremendous opportunities to transform our economy for the 21st century, and it is vital that we not only bolster our existing high-tech and innovative employers, but also bring more of these cutting-edge companies and their 21st century jobs to our state," Nixon said. "MOSIRA will help us capitalize on the growth of our existing science and technology companies to reinvest in generating further economic growth in the science and innovation industry sectors, which will be crucial to our future Missouri economy."

MOSIRA would create a funding source to spark growth in research and technology enterprises by capturing a small percentage of the growth in state revenue over a base year from a designated group of Missouri science and innovation companies. The monies would then be transferred into the Missouri Technology Investment Fund. The Missouri Technology Corp. (MTC) will administer the funding created by MOSIRA.

The MTC will reinvest the MOSIRA funding to generate further economic growth in the science and innovation industry sectors, with emphasis on biotechnology and life sciences. Funding will be reinvested in a wide range of programs designed to:

  • Attract top science talent to Missouri;
  • Commercialize scientific research to create new Missouri-based technology companies;
  • Recruit and build strategic science infrastructure;
  • Create a continuum of capital programs to increase access to risk capital for early-stage technology companies created in or recruited to Missouri;
  • Increase technology-focused entrepreneurial activity in Missouri; and
  • Establish highly-focused workplace development initiatives.

During his visit to BRDG Park, Nixon met with students and staff from
St. Louis Community College's biotechnology program and Center for Plant and Life Sciences. Missouri's community colleges, Nixon said, will be providing middle skills training for lab technicians, nurses, medical professionals, veterinary technicians and surveyors.

Nixon noted the accomplishments of Aliyah Sulaiman, who is nearing completion of her degree in biotechnology at STLCC-Florissant Valley.

"There's a young mother (Sulaiman) back here that 10 years ago was a bus driver, and now she's getting ready to graduate with a technical degree and move on with her education," he said. "We see hundreds of students shifting their lives and changing and opening up the possibility of not only new careers, but to give us the work force we need to move forward."