Futures Forum April 4-5 to examine molecular bioscience

Western Carolina University’s Institute for the Economy and the Future will hold its second annual i7 Futures Forum as scientists, policy makers, economic developers and investors gather to explore how science can shape the region’s future and provide opportunities for economic growth.

Taking its name from the themes of imagination, ideas, insight, ingenuity, innovation, invention and inspiration, the i7 Futures Forum is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, April 4, and all day Wednesday, April 5. This year’s event will focus on the topic of molecular bioscience.

“The evidence is increasingly clear that the sciences will have significant impact on the future of this university and on the ability of this region to compete,” said WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo. “The university can play an important role in conducting research on such issues as eliminating invasive plants, finding ways to prevent tick-born diseases, developing mechanisms to help commercialize native plant products, and protecting hardwood forests.”

The opening reception will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, in Club Illusions on the third floor of the A.K. Hinds University Center. The event will feature remarks by Robert Young, WCU’s internationally known hurricane impact researcher who last year testified before a congressional sub-committee regarding Hurricane Katrina. Young will discuss the intersection of policy and science at the pre-event reception.

Events on Wednesday, April 5, will be held in the theater on the third floor of the University Center. The topics for the daylong forum, which will be presented in four sessions, are WNC hardwoods, forensic sciences, WNC biodiversity and academic business interface.

The luncheon keynote address will feature Bob McMahan, the governor’s senior adviser for science and technology. McMahan will examine the topic of science and technology policy, and human capital development.

“We are looking forward to a day filled with insightful presentations, with more than 20 presenters considered experts in their fields discussing a variety of science-related topics of importance to the Western North Carolina region,” said WCU Provost Kyle Carter. “It is helpful to be able to bring together in one place those who conduct research at the university, those who make polices and laws, and those who make business decisions.”

The i7 Futures Forum is free of charge to the public, but seating is limited, and advance registration is required by Wednesday, March 29. It is co-sponsored by AdvantageWest.

To register, or for detailed information and a complete list of topics, presenters and their biographies, visit http://ief.wcu.edu and follow the i7 symposium link, or call (828) 227-3723.

Bob McMahan, the governor's senior adviser for science and technology, will be the keynote speaker for the second annual i7 Futures Forum.

Bob McMahan, the governor’s senior adviser for science and technology, will be the keynote speaker for the second annual i7 Futures Forum.