A national nonprofit aimed at economic development policymakers and other professionals seeking to create a better future through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship will hold their annual conference in about Little Rock a year from now.
Jerry Adams, president and CEO of the Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA), announced Thursday (Nov. 21) that the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) will hold its annual conference in Little Rock on Oct. 13-15, 2020.
“Research and technology are critical economic catalysts for Arkansas,” said Adams. “That SSTI chose Arkansas for such an important conference reflects the progress Arkansas has made to transform into a modern, competitive economy.”
Founded in 1996, SSTI offers information and services that are needed to succeed in today’s innovation economy. The nonprofit organization strives to maximize the capacity of its members to deliver successful outcomes within the context of the complex innovation communities in which they participate.
In landing the annual conference, ARA said it brought together a group of 16 sponsors comprised of fellow SSTI members StartupJunkie and the Walton Family Foundation. The Conway-based public-private partnership, whose board of directors is comprised of Arkansas business leaders and the chancellor from each of the state’s five major research universities, also received support from several Arkansas corporations and the public sector, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
“Arkansas’ future is a knowledge-based economy,” said Adams. “The SSTI conference will shine a light on the modern Arkansas that leverages intellectual capital, advanced research, and collaboration to achieve this vision for the future of our state.”
The 2018 SSTI Conference was held in Providence, R.I. Next year’s SSTI Annual Conference in Little Rock is expected to bring more than 250 participants from 47 states and is the largest gathering of economic development policymakers and practitioners active in all aspects of science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship, officials said. The event theme, “Creating a Culture of Change,” will explore how science and tech-driven organizations drive long-lasting impact, both for their regions and internally, officials said.
“Bringing the conference to Little Rock and sharing the story of what is happening in Arkansas will give people from across the country the opportunity to see the progress that’s being made in the state,” said Dan Berglund, SSTI president and CEO. “We think it’s a story that will resonate throughout the country.”