University of Connecticut president Susan Herbst is establishing a new vice presidency for economic development that will “work with all kinds of industries and disciplines to create jobs and fuel the economy.

The VP will be a “senior point person” to work with businesses and state government to lead UConn’s economic development efforts.

 “UConn is already a powerful economic force in Connecticut,” says Herbst, “but there is a pressing need to do more and play an even greater role when it comes to job creation, workforce development, technology commercialization, and business incubation for the state.”

A well-educated, highly skilled workforce has long been a strategic advantage for the state, and Connecticut’s colleges and universities must play key roles in preserving—and increasing—that competitive edge.

The state approved Gov. Malloy’s plan to create the Bioscience Connecticut initiative, to be based at the Health Center’s Farmington campus, a project expected to create jobs and make Connecticut a national leader in the bioscience field. The state also gave the green light to build a Technology Park at the Storrs campus.

Herbst, who will be formally installed on Friday as the university’s 15th president, envisions a significant role for the university and its new economic development office in shaping Connecticut’s economy.

Its effectiveness will be measured, she says, by factors such as how many companies it helped start up or attract to the state.