[From CASE Reports, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1997]


Connecticut Critical Technologies

The Academy has recently issued a report of a major new study, "Status of Connecticut Critical Technologies," a copy of which can be obtained from the Academy office for a fee of $10. The report examines in detail the nine technologies deemed "critical" for economic development in Connecticut.

What is a "critical technology?" As an example, in New Jersey, food processing is an important technology. The state has many firms practicing that technology, and it is vital for the state's economic development. Therefore, food processing is a "critical" technology for New Jersey. Similarly, aerospace technology has contributed substantially to Connecticut's economy, making it a critical technology for Connecticut. Are there other technologies that are critical to the state?

In 1984, then-Commissioner of Higher Education Norma Glasgow was charged by Governor O'Neill with developing and implementing programs of higher education that would support the critical technologies of Connecticut. Commissioner Glasgow asked the Academy to answer the question: what are the critical technologies of Connecticut?

In response to that inquiry, the Academy developed the following list of seven technologies judged to be critical to the state's economic development.

computer applications
energy systems
materials technology
medical technology

These were the areas of endeavor that were deemed 1) to promise newer industrial or commercial applications of science or engineering; 2) to have a core of activity that evidenced potential for economic growth in Connecticut; and 3) to possess sufficient or substantial educational support structure.

Shortly thereafter, the state Board of Governors for Higher Education adopted that list of seven critical technologies. Subsequently, in 1987, the list plus an analysis was reported to the Department of Economic Development for use in supporting Connecticut industry.

The list remained the only formal identification of Connecticut critical technologies until 1993 when, as part of the legislative initiative of Public Act No. 93-382, the "Technology Deployment Act of 1993," two new critical technologies-environmental technology and marine sciences-were added to the existing list.

The recently released Academy report, prepared by a committee chaired by Dean John Cagnetta, University of Hartford School of Engineering, re-examines the nine in the light of present information about the technologies and present industrial needs. It also identifies advanced manufacturing as a technology that underlies and is adjunct to several if not all of the nine critical technologies. The report contains a major section discussing advanced manufacturing and its many applications.

The report concluded that each of the nine technologies remained critical for Connecticut. "The specific activities in each area have changed since CASE's last review In many instances, the criticalness lies less in the overall technologies and more in the specific activities that have changed"

The Statement of Inquiry and the Summary of Response for this report are available on the Web at the Academy homepage: www.ctcase.org.-D.M.Wetstone, Secretary

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