University studies more than agriculture, Richard Spinrad says
The general impression of research at Oregon State University is that it centers on agriculture, but it is much more diverse than that, according to Richard Spinrad.
Speaking on Wednesday to the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce at its monthly membership luncheon, Spinrad, vice president for research at OSU, said agriculture only is part of the story.
“As a land grant university, the general feeling is that we are all about ag,” Spinrad said. “But we are all over the map. OSU covers the whole spectrum.”
Spinrad said that OSU researchers impact people all over the state and country.
He pointed to recent developments in wood composites that have made home building materials stronger and safer. He tipped his hat to the maraschino cherry, an original OSU invention.
“Research at OSU touches each of us,” Spinrad said.
He pointed to the more recognizable areas of OSU research in agriculture, forestry, veterinary medicine and oceanography but wanted people to understand the college has equally impacted the economics of the state and the entire country.
He said OSU brings in more research dollars than all of the other universities in Oregon combined.
“We are relevant to you,” he said.
Spinrad offered chamber members a glimpse into what they can expect to see five years down the line as a direct result of OSU research.
He said smartphones will be able to access bar-coded information on items in their refrigerators. Spinrad said something similar already is occurring in the Oregon fishing industry.
Additionally, navigation systems in cars will be greatly improved, he said. And he said new products will include a purification device for home dialysis patients and foods from OSU’s fermentation lab.
He said that energy advancements will allow people to tap into specific resources that include solar, wave, wind or geothermal.
“Those types of products will be available commercially and they will be easy to buy and install,” Spinrad said.
The university is contributing to a healthy business community, he said.
“We don’t usually like to talk about creating jobs through research, but we do know that there are hundreds of jobs that didn’t exist without research at Oregon State,” Spinrad said.
Part of that comes from licensing great ideas to businesses, he said. And part of it comes from the people who come out of OSU, who contribute to starting new business.
“Take advantage of us,” Spinrad said. “We love to work with communities and this is an exciting time. We can help local economies survive.”