Three collaborative efforts are underway that could potentially change the economic landscape for Peoria.
One of those efforts—the Regional Biosciences Strategy for Central Illinois—was announced September 11 by Dr. Walter Plosila of Technology Partnership Practice of Battelle Memorial. The presentation summarized project design methodology, the region’s economic base in the biosciences, core focus areas in which to build the bioscience’s base, benchmarking other regions and identification of best practices, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, vision and mission, strategies for positioning the region and significant and critical actions for long-term success.
The strategies for positioning the region to achieve their vision and mission are:
- Strengthen the region’s research and development base in identified core areas through collaboration among key anchors—the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, the USDA National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR), Bradley University, Methodist Medical Center, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and Proctor Hospital.
- Build the region’s technology infrastructure to enable research and technology commercialization to flourish.
- Create an entrepreneurial-driven culture by establishing and forming homegrown businesses in the biosciences.
- Establish a regional business climate supportive of biosciences around its health care base; and
- Mobilize community and regional support for the biosciences.
To implement these five strategies a series of specific actions were proposed. Priorities indicated as immediate (within the next year); short-term (within the next 18 to 24 months); and long-term (within the next five to 10 years).
It is further proposed that an organization, tentatively called Regional BioCollaborative, be established as a mechanism to implement these strategies. This organization will serve as the regional advocate for mobilizing resources to implement key strategies, serve as the one-stop center to address issues and problems as they arise that affect the ability of the regional to become a major midwestern center in the biosciences; and serve as the forum to link sectors (government, industry and academe) that are critical to implementing this strategy and ensure that the vision becomes a reality.
This community is positioned to determine its destiny. Are we willing to keep and attract talent, offer well-paying jobs that involve the development and use of technologies? Are we willing to be innovators?
The journey toward this future is neither simple nor easy. When you compare our strength and progress versus where other cities and regions are in the country, we clearly have all the ingredients to be a major player in the biosciences. We must seize the momentum and make the vision for biosciences a reality. Will we? IBI