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George Mason University has empaneled a group of regional business, economic-development and civic leaders to focus on the university’s Arlington campus and its connection to the region’s efforts to develop innovation.
The President’s Innovation Advisory Council (PIAC) was named by Mason president Gregory Washington. “These council members have been carefully selected for their knowledge and expertise, and also because they represent industries and organizations that are critical to the ecosystem we want to build,” he said in a statement.
The council “will play a vital role addressing today’s top economic and social challenges by connecting the academic community with industry and government leaders,” said Sumeet Shrivastava, president and CEO of Array Information Technology, and president of Mason’s Alumni Association.
The panel will be chaired by Aneesh Chopra, president of CareJourney and the national chief technology officer in the Obama administrator.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build an economy for our region that works better for everyone,” he said.
Focus areas will include Mason’s long-range plan to anchor an innovation district in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, along with new initiatives that address job readiness, preparation and placement.
The initiative is part of Mason’s contribution to the state government’s Tech Talent Investment Program, designed to produce 25,000 additional graduates in computer science, computer engineering and software engineering over the next 20 years.
The university was granted $235 million from the General Assembly, and aims to raise another $125 million on its own.
The initiative’s centerpiece will feature a new 400,000-square-foot building on the Arlington campus. The new building will provide labs and working space for students and faculty from Mason’s new Institute of Digital InnovAtion and the proposed School of Computing. A portion of the building will be reserved for industry partners and entrepreneurs.