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A Publication of WTVP

In September, the Regional Bioscience Strategy (PRB) for Central Illinois (a yearlong analysis and planning study conducted by the Batelle Memorial Institute) was presented to the community. The report outlined a 24 to 36 month timetable with an initial list of 29 action steps for a Bioscience Strategy to be realized for Peoria and the region.

The initial founding members of the PRB are the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, Bradley University, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (Ag Lab), Methodist Medical Center, OSF Saint Francis, and Proctor Hospital.

We are very fortunate that Glen Barton, chairman of Caterpillar Inc., and Doug Stewart, regional president of National City Bank, joined the PRB.

For the immediate future, we feel it is important to stay relatively small to be more effective and focused. The PRB meets twice monthly to ensure this very important project for Peoria stays on track.

The initial entity will be a not-for-profit organization called the PRB Foundation. The legal and organizational structure will continue to evolve as we proceed down the list of action steps.

I would like to recognize three individuals who played pivotal roles in the development of the Bioscience Strategy. The first is Dr. Richard Lister, the initial driving force and now the leader of the PRB implementation team. He presented the Bioscience Strategy to at least 50 groups and will address any group or organization that would be interested in learning more about the Bioscience Strategy. The next two are Dr. Stan Liberty, provost and vice president of Bradley University, and William Engelbrecht, vice president for alumnae development of Bradley University. We are fortunate that all three individuals remain involved and will assume leadership roles in moving the Bioscience Strategy forward.

On January 15, the PRB, along with other key community, business and political leaders, traveled to Kalamazoo, Mich. Peoria and Kalamazoo have numerous similarities. Kalamazoo has a biosciences program that is two years ahead of where our PRB is today.

National City Bank has been one of the driving forces in that effort in Kalamazoo. Thanks to Stewart we are going to get information and insights from their community leaders about their lessons and experiences in developing the biosciences strategy in Kalamazoo.

One of the components in our PRB implementation plan is to develop a communication plan. We recognize frequent and open communication of PRB’s progress and accomplishments is very important to its success. In the coming months the PRB will be providing frequent updates. We are very pleased that the comments we hear in the community are in overwhelming support of the PRB. Together with the business community, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (and responsibility) to shape the future of Peoria and the region. IBI

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