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The new Institute of Environmental Science Education and Research at East Central University will kick off its efforts to develop partnerships between the university and business and industry in a forum Oct. 8 [MONDAY] at ECU. 

The IESER Science and Technology Forum will host representatives from three of Oklahoma's premier science and technology development agencies from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Estep Multimedia Center on the first floor of the University Center.

The agencies are the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), the Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and Innovation to Enterprise (i2E).

The free forum is open to regional business and industry representatives and ECU faculty and students. Registrations should be made by Oct. 3 [WEDNESDAY] by contacting Dr. Vivian Whitney at 580-559-5701 or at

"Our major goal for this forum," said Dr. Guy Sewell, IESER executive director and ECU professor of environmental health science, "is to inform regional business and industry representatives about ways ECU can help them find funding for technology and product development as well as the services and programs ECU has available to them.

"There are funds available, and we want to explore the possibility of forming partnerships with businesses that can help strengthen our economy," he said. "We also want to hear what their workplace needs are and see how our faculty and students can better support area business endeavors."

OCAST administers the newly created $150 million EDGE Fund (Economic Development Generating Excellence). The trust fund was established to increase private and public applied research and development, technology transfer and technology commercialization in the state. OCAST works in partnership with the private sector, higher education, CareerTech and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

The goal of Oklahoma EPSCoR is to increase Oklahoma's research competitiveness through strategic support of research instruments and facilities, research collaborations and integrated education and research programs.

i2E Inc. is a private not-for-profit corporation focused on creating wealth in Oklahoma by growing the technology-based entrepreneurial economy.

Sewell said possible outcomes of the partnerships could include establishing faculty and student internships and/or research and development opportunities, using faculty as consultants or trainers, and enriching ECU's science/technology curriculum to include cutting-edge workplace needs.

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