Source: UNMs big idea: Help add 100,000 jobs.

Updated: Monday, 10 Dec 2012, 7:26 PM MST
Published : Monday, 10 Dec 2012, 7:26 PM MST

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A recent report, “Expanding UNM’s Role in Economic Development” indicates New Mexico must replace 100,000 jobs to fully recover from the lingering recession, and the University of New Mexico has some ideas on how to develop those jobs.

The report by Mark Lautman of Lautman Economic Architecture says UNM is already an environment ripe for job and business development.

“Brilliant professors we have here do research and apply for grants,” Lautman notes.  “Every time they take down a National Science Foundation grant they are able to hire grad students, and they’re a job engine just like Intel.”

Lautman says New Mexico has had the slowest economic recovery in the nation and is especially vulnerable because the state is so dependent on federal dollars.

UNM President Bob Frank hosted an economic summit recently, and out of that came many suggestions on how UNM could help the city and state with job creation.

UNM already has experience with job creation and business incubators. Its Center for High Technology and Materials, CHTM, hosts numerous research projects.  One of the labs focuses on nanotechnology used in lasers, high-efficiency lighting and even synthetic gems.

Over the last 10 years, a dozen high-tech businesses have come out of CHTM, according to Lisa Kuuttila, president and CEO at STC.UNM.  This unique nonprofit associated with UNM specializes in business incubators, and Kuuttila says UNM is considering a new incubator called a business square that would go beyond research.

Kuuttila says the Square would include research but also lawyers, accountants, investors and maybe even housing for students working on projects.

No timeline has been set for the business square, but Frank has appointed a team of 16 who will be working on initiatives. In January, part of the team will visit a business zone at the University of Florida at Gainesville.