Clemson Starts on ‘Innovation Center’

Complex expected to be business incubator, support high-tech jobs

June 13, 2008

By Anna Simon – Greenville News

Clemson University broke ground Thursday for an innovation center expected to spawn high tech jobs and spur the Upstate economy.

Located in Clemson’s Advanced Materials Center, formerly Clemson Research Park, on State 187 near Interstate 85, the center will be both an incubator and a “world-class facility,” said Clemson President Jim Barker.

It provides “a critical next step in transferring the technology to the marketplace,” Barker said.

The complex, expected to be completed by August 2009, “makes that link so new companies can be created,” Barker said.

Barker is building on the strength of synergy to be created by a spectacular facility, respected researchers already here and more that Clemson hopes to attract, and the location.

The location midway between Atlanta and Charlotte on the I-85 corridor is “in the middle of the eighth largest regional economy in the world,” Barker said.

The new facility will boost the local economy bringing continued growth and jobs, said Sandra Gantt, a Pendleton Town Council member who attended the groundbreaking.

Duke Energy and AdvanceSC each contributed leadership and $1 million toward the innovation center, said Chris Przirembel, Clemson’s vice president for Research and Economic Development.

The site is next to Clemson’s Advanced Materials Laboratory that houses the university’s state-of-the-art electron microscope, and the South Carolina Research Authority plans to build a classified research facility on adjacent property.

The cluster is expected to help draw the research talent and new businesses on photonics and other advanced materials fields that already have yielded economic benefits.

Advanced materials research accounts for more than $100 million in external funding since 2005 and has comprised nearly a third of the university’s external research dollars over past four years, Barker said.

In addition, seven new companies have formed from Clemson innovations in advanced materials in the last two years, Barker said.


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