USTAR to host panel at international science and diplomacy conference

The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) is set to host a panel at Science Diplomacy 2018 on Sept. 14, 2018 in Washington, D.C. The international event is the fourth annual conference hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Science Diplomacy.

The conference brings together scientists, engineers, policymakers, and diplomats from around the world to discuss emerging and timely issues of science diplomacy.

The panel, Think Locally to Impact Globally: Science Diplomacy at the State Level, which was written, proposed, and coordinated by USTAR, will be hosted by former USTAR executive director Ivy Estabrooke, Ph.D., who now serves as the executive director for corporate executive programs at PolarityTE. During her time at USTAR, Estabrooke guided the agency to either meet or exceed its five-year performance metrics in just two years, including more than $123.9 million in follow-on funding for USTAR-supported companies.

The panel will include innovation experts June Chen, M.D., Juan Manuel Romero, and Dan Wee, Ph.D.

Chen is a leading technology business consultant with more than 10 years of experience in business development, strategic communications, and angel investing for startups and established companies. Currently, Chen serves as a managing partner at LDD, a boutique strategic management consulting and angel investing firm, a managing partner at Mountain Pacific Venture Fund, an early-stage life sciences investment fund, and co-owner of Church & State, a 501(c)(3) non-profit business and entrepreneurship incubator.

Romero is the vice president of innovation and technology transfer at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), where he has been a key policy leader for the country in science, technology, innovation, and economic development. Previously, he served as the president of the Mexican Association of Managers of Applied Research and Technological Development (ADIAT), one of the country’s most prestigious organizations in the science, technology, and innovation ecosystem.

Wee is the CEO and founder of T3S Technologies, a biotech company that utilizes a revolutionary expression platform to enable development and drastically reduce production costs of a range of protein products. Wee has led the company through equity financing, federal and state-funded grant awards, and deals throughout academia and industry. T3S Technologies is a recipient of a USTAR Technology Acceleration Program (TAP) grant.

During USTAR’s panel, speakers will discuss the strategic role of technology-based economic development and innovation to strengthen the economic and competitive advantage in a globalized environment. The panel will explore the value gained by building new international relationships between institutions and individuals on a platform of science and technology and will look at how state agencies, national governments, nonprofit organizations, and businesses can benefit from prioritizing international collaboration.

To learn more about Science Diplomacy 2018 or to register for the event, visit https://www.aaas.org/. To learn more about USTAR, visit ustar.org.


The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) is the state’s technology-based economic development agency. USTAR serves as a catalyst to develop ideas and research into marketable products and successful companies through its competitive grant and entrepreneur support programs. USTAR propels Utah’s economy forward by supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in the non-IT science and deep technology clusters. USTAR facilitates the diversification of the state’s tech economy, increases private follow-on investments, and ensures more companies successfully launch and survive the initial technology development and incubation stages, or the so-called "Valley of Death." In doing so, USTAR helps create a rich innovation ecosystem that grows the state’s economy, tax revenue, and workforce.


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