Robert Atkinson to open lecture series about the innovation economy on Jan. 28

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Economists, policy experts and elected officials agree: innovation is crucial to solving the nation's most pressing problems.

Creativity and ingenuity can assist in solving issues related to climate change, job creation, U.S. economic competitiveness, dependence on foreign oil and health care cost containment. Regionally, innovation is also a key to restoring upstate New York’s economy and promoting prosperity in the region.

To better realize the regional potential of innovation, RIT and New York State Assemblyman Joseph Morelle are joining together to present a lecture series, Rochester and the Innovation Economy, which will bring in leading national experts to discuss important trends in innovation policy and the opportunities and challenges for expanding the innovation economy in upstate New York.

The inaugural speaker in the series is Robert Atkinson, founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, who will give a presentation at 4 p.m. Jan. 28 in Carlson Auditorium. Atkinson is a leading expert on U.S. innovation policy who previously served as chair of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission and as a project director for the U.S. Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment. He will offer insights on current trends and how the greater Rochester region can take advantage to promote further economic development and job growth in the region.

“Our region is poised to capitalize on its many assets as a leader in the innovation economy,” notes Morelle. “This lecture series will provide a platform to showcase the community’s unique capabilities to national leaders, as well as identify ways in which the region can leverage investments being made at the national level.”

The series is co-organized by Morelle and Ron Hira, RIT associate professor of public policy, and is sponsored by Morelle, the College of Liberal Arts and the E. Philip Saunders College of Business.