University of New Mexico leaders will join stakeholders from around the state in a virtual gathering on Tuesday, Nov. 16 to continue discussions about the economic future of the state and UNM’s role as one of New Mexico’s largest employers. Hosted by UNM Rainforest Innovations, the Business and Economic Summit: New Mexico’s Statewide Recovery and Long-term Plan will focus on the new Statewide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy from the New Mexico Economic Development Department. The strategy largely focuses on diversification of the state’s revenue sources away from oil and gas, retail, and public sectors to ensure a prosperous economy in the face of global challenges.

The summit comes on the heels of the report on the Statewide Economic Impact of The University of New Mexico. The report analyzed the entire UNM system and quantified its impact on the New Mexico economy in academic year 2020. As one of New Mexico’s major employers, UNM enhances workforce productivity, improves quality of life, stimulates innovation, and drives economic growth statewide, providing 40,153 jobs, $2.1 billion in annual labor income, and $5.2 billion in economic output. UNM is the only university in New Mexico with an R1 designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, reserved for doctoral universities with very high levels of research activity, making it uniquely poised to stimulate economic growth statewide.

“Our research community draws its strengths from the education and real-world learning opportunities UNM provides,” says Ellen Fisher, vice president for Research. “Investment in research infrastructure and programs in areas such as quantum information science and climate change will drive innovations over the next 20 years. As a research university, it is imperative that UNM continues to lead the way.”

UNM plans to discuss how to address six challenges outlined in the strategy, from retention of talent in urban, rural, and tribal communities, to disengagement of socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in planning processes and perceived misalignment between industry and higher education. UNM President Garnett Stokes will provide a lunchtime keynote on how UNM is already addressing some of these challenges and provide the foundation to take on those that remain.

Another challenge the UNM research community is primed to address is the lack of collaboration between economic development stakeholders. The summit will feature three collaboration initiatives: Quantum New Mexico Coalition for Advancing Inclusive Infrastructure, a partnership between numerous stakeholders including UNM, Sandia National Laboratories, and Sacred Wind Enterprises; Biosciences and Education Innovation for Inclusive Impact, a collaboration between Project ECHO, New Mexico Bioscience Authority, and Tramway Ventures; and the Northern Rio Grande Corridor Collaborative, a cooperative arrangement between UNM, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the University of Texas El Paso.

“The beauty of the Quantum New Mexico initiative is that it is an area where we lead the nation and the world. We have done this by working together across institutions, and it truly has the potential to transform our economy,” says David Hanson, interim assistant vice president for Research. “However, that will only happen by expanding the collaborations even further around the state, across academia, industry, and local governments, to build the workforce that will be leaders in both the intellectual and commercialization spaces. Quantum is the future of IT, and the discoveries we make will drive our success.”

Register to attend the summit on Zoom. The University of New Mexico Business and Economic Summit is hosted by UNM Rainforest Innovations, the technology-transfer and economic-development organization for The University of New Mexico. UNM Rainforest Innovations protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring the technologies to the marketplace.