Saturday, August 1, 2009

More misconceptions about TIGM

Rick Finnell's email (pdf) also discusses the origins of TIGM
Your second major concern was about how the decision was made to go after this Texas Enterprise Fund award. I certainly do not know when the conversations began, as I was a faculty member brought in to give my input sometime long after the process had already started. I had my own opinions as to whether or not TAMUS should get involved and what other options might have been explored.
This might seem to be surprising, given Guy Diedrich's account during the Giroir open forum
Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations and Commercialization Guy Diedrich on Monday called claims that TIGM started in the system offices "revisionist history." He told those at the forum that proposals first came from faculty members and people in the office of former Vice President for Research Richard Ewing.
If Finnell only came in later, who was driving the formation of TIGM? Let's look at the minutes(pdf) from the BoR meeting in July 2005
Mr. White said that the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine (TIGM) is a great example of collaboration within the System. He commented on the involvement of Dr. Bob McTeer, Chancellor; Dr. Bob Gates, President of TAMU; Dr. Dick Ewing, Vice President of for Research at TAMU; Dr. Nancy Dickey, President of the System Health Science Center (HSC); Dr. Rick Finnell, Director of the Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT); and Mr. Guy Diedrich, Managing Director of the Technology Commercialization Center...

Mr. Nye said that on behalf of the Board and others, he wanted to recognize that Mr. White was very instrumental in receiving the idea, getting it germinated at the state level, attracting the funds and bringing it to the university when it could have gone many other places. He commended Mr. White and said that this was a wonderful undertaking and it was appreciated.


Dr. McTeer commented that the morning before the press conference, TIGM held its organizing board meeting and Mr. White was elected as chairman. He said that this was probably the most important thing that would happen during his administration.
Dr. McTeer said that there were many people who should be commended, such as Mr. Diedrich and Mr. Doug Centilli, Congressman Kevin Brady’s Chief of Staff.
In 2006, Dr. McTeer spoke to the Texas Lyceum
Not long after TIGM was formed, I had breakfast with Alan Greenspan in Washington. He asked me what was going on in my new world. When I started explaining all this to him, he interrupted me to ask why it was that most research mice are white rather than brown. After a long moment that seemed like an hour—a place I’d been before with him—I finally said, “Mr. Chairman, It’s a conundrum.”

Pretty soon, Guy Diedrich, who had brokered the TIGM deal (and who will be on your program tomorrow) brought me another deal to sign.
The record supports Diedrich's account. The idea for TIGM didn't start with the System; it started with Regent White, who probably heard about Lexicon from his time working with the Houston Technology Center. Diedrich, working in the VPR's office at TAMU was tasked with making it happen, so the proposals originated with TAMU, not TAMUS.

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