Report shows Oklahoma's technology progress

Monday, January 12th 2004, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma is making progress in improving its economy through technology, a report said Monday.

``Meeting Challenges in the New Economy'' is the third edition of an ongoing study conducted by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science Technology, with funding provided by the Noble Foundation and the Presbyterian Health Foundation.

Dr. William. A. Sibley, executive director of OCAST, said Oklahoma had made improvements in average earnings, per capita personal income and percent of the workforce employed.

``Our rankings have improved,'' Sibley said. ``From 2000 to 2002, we improved from 43rd in the nation in per capital income to 40th. We rank 15th in the nation in high school graduations, with 77% of our students graduating, and Oklahoma is a leader in the number of nationally certified teachers per capita.''

During the same period, he said, Oklahoma improved from 41st to 31st in the country in university research and development and from 30th to 28th in federal research and development.

The state, however, slipped in the areas of industrial research and development from 37th to 40th.

Recommendations in the report included:

_ Increased state tax credits and exemptions for research and development, at least to the federal level of 20%.

_ Increased funding for university research in sensors, biotechnology, information technology, weather technology and aerospace.

_ Increased focus on science education, including recruiting students with those interests to attend Oklahoma universities.

_ Establishing ``centers for excellence'' in such areas as weather, information technology, biotechnology and sensors.

_ Recruiting research and development companies.

_ Working with Oklahoma defense facilities to provide more small business contacts and small business research awards.

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