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SB 487 reinvents OSTRaD Board

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Gov. Kevin Stitt recently signed SB 487, legislation that reduces the size of the board that governs the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST).

The legislation reduces the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development (OSTRaD) Board that governs OCAST to nine members from the 21-member board which has provided oversight since the agency was created by the state legislature in 1987.

Sponsored by Sen. Adam Pugh (R-Edmond) and Rep. Jadine Nollan (R-Sand Springs), SB 487 provides a more flexible oversight board that will enable the state agency to pivot more quickly and with more focused intent in its support of emerging new technologies.

The legislation names the State Secretary of Science and Innovation – Elizabeth Pollard – as the OSTRaD board chair, with four members appointed by the governor and two each by the state senate and house.

Two of the governor’s appointees must be from an Oklahoma university, while the remaining appointees from both the governor and the legislature are required to have ties to industries related to science and technology such as biotech, life sciences, autonomous systems, aerospace, energy, information technology and other emerging technologies.

“This legislation results in a smaller but more focused board, bringing to OCAST industry experience to help it make more strategic investments that will grow innovation and manufacturing across our state,” Pollard said. “At the state level, we’re focused on creating a shorter path between concept and commercialization. As a board, I’m confident we will bring expertise to help OCAST tackle that mission.”

As the hub of the award-winning Oklahoma Innovation Model for economic development, OCAST retains its strategic partners at i2E Inc, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, the New Product Development Center at Oklahoma State University and the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma.

“We enthusiastically embrace changes to the OSTRaD board that bring us experienced industry leadership to help create new public and private partnerships,” said C. Michael Carolina, OCAST executive director.

“OCAST and our partners in the Oklahoma Innovation Model are constantly refining our economic development pipeline with a mission of enabling new technologies to quickly move innovations to the marketplace, with an ultimate goal of creating jobs and prosperity for all Oklahomans,” Carolina said.

The legislation also ensures that the new OSTRAD board will include members drawn from both metropolitan and rural areas of the state.

The changes in the OCAST governing board became effective upon the governor’s signature on May 10, 2021.

Last Modified on May 20, 2021