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Rep. Marcy Kaptur: National Energy Labs Should Work More Closely With Northeast Ohio Companies

Monday, December 9, 2013 at 7:08 PM

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Northeast Ohio energy companies and national researchers met yesterday at NASA Glenn Research Center to start talking about better ways to bring federal assistance to the area’s economy. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.

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Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Photo: U.S. Congress) U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (Photo: Official portrait, Department of Energy)

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur says there’s a lot the U.S. Department of Energy’s national research laboratories can do for Northeast Ohio. She says they can mobilize scientists – and money – to help smaller manufacturers turn out high-tech products, for example.

The problem, she says, is that this region isn’t as tightly linked with federal research and development as are science hubs like Boston or San Francisco. Kaptur says the Greater Cleveland area has been left behind.

“We need jobs here at home, and the high sciences have to help us,” Kaptur said. “They just can’t be in their own pristine campuses anymore. They have to link to us, to the people out here in this America. And the Great Lakes region, quite frankly, has been shortchanged.”

The new U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, had been scheduled to participate in person, but his flight from Washington, D.C., was grounded.  Speaking to the group by phone, Moniz said the department is trying to connect with companies and universities here.

“There’s major research capacity in the state, at universities, at labs and of course in companies,” Moniz said.

He points to $31.9 million in the energy department’s ARPA-E research grants given to universities and companies in Ohio as one example of how the federal government is trying to stir innovation in the state. 

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