By JOE MANCHIN

CHARLESTON -- Last week in Morgantown, the state's leaders in higher education, research and the private sector unveiled a study that paints a positive picture on the impact of bioscience research.

The report identifies a private sector economic impact of $7.2 billion that supports more than 21,000 jobs in the state. That doesn't include research initiatives at West Virginia University, Marshall University and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, which combined for another $200 million in economic activity.

I was pleased to see Marshall President Dr. Stephen Kopp, WVU President Mike Garrison, Billy Tauzin, CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and researchers from throughout West Virginia, sharing in what will surely be a significant stepping stone for jobs and growth in our state.

A proposal that I introduced in January during the State of the State address, which seemed to go hand-in-hand with the research strategies showcased in Morgantown, involves a concept that I believe will create another avenue of opportunity and that is "Bucks for Brains." The "Bucks" method fuses smart investments in economic development, higher education, and work force development all together to stimulate leading research. Modeled after a concept authored by representatives at the University of Kentucky, we are optimistic that this same approach will yield positive results toward West Virginia's pursuit of more job creation.

With the backing of Presidents Garrison and Kopp from our two leading research institutions, we are hopeful that this endowment toward research will simply be the "tip of the iceberg" of things to come in our state's economy.

I have said before that there are two things you can do with money -- you can either spend it or you can invest it. If we intend to take a proactive stance toward future development in West Virginia, then placing an investment in bio-science research will be one of the most beneficial investments we can engage.

As we continue to find better ways to provide opportunities for West Virginians, let us not overlook this chance to launch research based careers throughout our state. The ideas that we continue to pursue should be good news to the many students and professionals that have set their sights on a career based on scientific research. Working as a group, we will continue to unlock doors, approach new concepts and introduce various ways to make reality out of visions.

I feel very strongly about bringing and securing 21st Century skill-level jobs to our state. The knowledge, commitment, and potential are all in place. The Mountain State is geared for the emergence of the latest bio-science advancements. We intend to capitalize on this opportunity.

Manchin is West Virginia's governor.

More News