Much to Chat About—From the $1B Life Sciences Bill to Homeland Security
Tomorrow is turning out to be an unofficial get-to-know-your government day here in Cambridge. Two top officials (one state, one federal) will be in town for a pair of events addressing two core issues affecting the innovation community and beyond: Governor Deval Patrick’s $1 billion life sciences initiative, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to spur entrepreneurship and innovation. I’m pleased to be part of both events. I will be conducting a breakfast chat with Jon Mahoney, the industry director for life sciences, from the state’s Office of Business Development. That will be followed by a lunchtime Xconomy Forum conversation with Jay Cohen, the DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology.
My chat with Mahoney, an event organized by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce’s High Tech and Science Committee, will take place around 8:30 tomorrow morning at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (think old Necco factory). You can find more details here. For those of you who missed the news, a version of the life sciences bill, which the Governor originally introduced last July, finally passed the Massachusetts House last week and is moving to the Senate. I’ll be speaking with Mahoney not just about the bill and what it means for local entrepreneurs, life sciences companies, and the R&D community, but also about the state of Massachusetts’ competitiveness in the face of mounting efforts to attract local companies to other venues around the U.S. and the world. Mahoney ought to know about the latter; before taking his current job, he worked for the Republic of Ireland, and his job was to recruit U.S. companies to that country.
Just before noon, I will be over at Draper Lab to host the Xconomy Forum conversation with Cohen. This should be another great discussion. I’ve known Cohen for several years now, and let’s just say the former admiral and submariner is not your run-of-the-mill government official. He directed the Office of Naval Research for six years, he’s about as out-of-the-box as you can possibly get in Washington—and he’ll be speaking about some very interesting efforts to make Homeland Security more innovative and to support game-changing ideas and innovations in the technological and business communities. I hope you have already registered for this event, as it has filled up. But if you didn’t, we’ll be posting on it soon—maybe with some YouTube video (the under secretary’s idea).