STEM in the Technopolis 2019

The IC² Institute will host a one-day conference on April 5, 2019, to examine how secondary STEM education models are opening schools up to businesses and organizations in their communities.

STEM in the Technopolis

The Power of STEM Education in Regional Technology Policy

Friday, April 5, 2019
8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
AT&T Executive Center at UT Austin
1900 University Avenue, Austin, TX 78705
Free – register now

Download the conference agenda

Conference Chair: Dr. Paul Resta
Ruth Knight Millikan Centennial Professor, College of Education, The University of Texas at Austin

Keynote speakers:

Major General Patrick Burden
Director, Combat Systems, Army Futures Command

Dr. Donna Kidwell
Chief Technology Officer, EdPlus at Arizona State University

U.S. cases, and international cases from Mexico, Colombia, Norway, more

Conference outcomes will contribute to development of the academic volume STEM in the Technopolis. Learn more at

Register Now

Special invitation to students: We are inviting students from the College of Education and from the LBJ School of Public Affairs to be recorders for our panel sessions and workshops. Students who are interested will be provided a short 1-2 paragraph book background on arrival at the conference, and they’ll be asked to record observations regarding successes, challenges, and barriers that they hear from presenters, and also their own reactions to the content. They will be provided a web page where they can upload their observations. We will use their observations in development of a conference publication and for the book.

STEM classroom

STEM in the Technopolis

When governments think about driving technology-based development, they usually think about partnerships among governments, academia and industry. These partnerships and issues are essential. Models like the Triple Helix (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 2000) and the Technopolis Model (Smilor, Gibson, & Kozmetsky, 1989) focus exclusively or mainly on these concerns.

But what about the impact of the hundreds of millions of secondary students, taught by tens of millions of teachers, supported by hundreds of thousands of volunteers, who deliver STEM education to children around the world? One can argue that these large regional ecosystems, which exist in proximity to industry clusters, and which draw content inspiration from those industry clusters, and which feed their workforce pipelines, must play an important role in these clusters’ long-term development. If this is correct, then when regional STEM education policies are adopted, for better or worse, they interact with technology policies at work in the region. The Technopolis Wheel (Smilor et al., 1989) hints at this relationship through its state and local government spokes, but the relationship is rarely explicitly noted.

STEM in the Technopolis will examine the relationship of secondary STEM education to the long-term development of industry clusters – the same clusters that have led globally to wealth and improved quality of life. We will explore the hypothesis that a region’s policies for technology-based economic development should incorporate support for robust STEM education experiences for K-12 students. The policies should address the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in relevant careers, and they should encourage the framing of STEM education experiences within the context of local industry clusters and societal challenges. In doing so, regions can drive a virtuous cycle of education, economic development, and quality of life for citizens.

The conference will explore the following questions:

  • What does it mean to integrate STEM education policy into regional economic development and technology policies?
  • What is the specific role for K-12 STEM education policies in regional development?
  • What STEM policy elements should educators, political leadership, and the business community adopt to build a technopolis in their community?
  • How do we recognize STEM policy success?

Sponsored by the IC² Institute, the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin, and the Society for Design and Process Science (SDPS).

For more information, please contact Dr. Cliff Zintgraff,