DATE: February 01, 2008
Chris Przirembel, (864) 656-7701
Sandy Woodward, (864) 656-1220
Clemson University Innovation Center receives final funding approval
Duke Energy and Advance SC investments in the project noted
CLEMSON — The State Budget and Control Board Thursday gave final approval to Clemson University’s request for $5 million to start construction of a new Innovation Center at the Clemson University Advanced Materials Center, formerly Clemson Research Park. The board’s action gives the green light for a plan that offers significant economic development potential for Anderson County. The approval is the final step in a process that began with the South Carolina Centers of Economic Excellence Review Board approval of the project for funding through the South Carolina Research Infrastructure Act.
“We are extremely pleased that the Budget and Control Board recognized the value of this project and the economic benefit it offers Anderson County, the Upstate and all of South Carolina,” said Chris Przirembel, Clemson’s vice president for research and economic development.
Advance SC, funded through Duke Energy, provided $1 million for construction of the Innovation Center, and the Duke Energy Foundation provided a $1 million endowment to support the operation and maintenance of the building.
“We are especially grateful to Advance SC and Duke Energy for their generous support in addition to the partners previously announced. The public-private partnership and local investment in the Advanced Materials Center sends a strong message that this area welcomes the advanced materials industry,” Przirembel said.
“This exciting project fits perfectly with Duke Energy’s focus on regional economic development and our effort to attract advanced-technology research and industry to the Carolinas. I believe the benefits of this type of collaboration will be significant for our customers and communities,” said Ellen Ruff, president of Duke Energy Carolinas.
Advance SC board president Carol Burdette said, “Our board voted unanimously to support this project because we believe Clemson University is creating an unprecedented opportunity for economic development with this initiative and we are excited to be a part of it.”
Through their investment in the Innovation Center, Advance SC and Duke join forces with previously announced partners Innovate Anderson (formerly the Anderson County Development Partnership) and the South Carolina Research Authority, as well as Clemson, to create a strategy and a funding package to make the area a hub for the high-technology advanced-materials industry that is characterized by high-paying jobs. Innovate Anderson invested $1.3 to purchase the remaining available property in the Advanced Materials Center for potential use by private industry. The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) provided $4.3 million for a building to house SCRA contract and classified research.
The Innovation Center is part of a research and development complex that will leverage Anderson County’s ability to attract advanced-materials companies. The 28,000-square-foot facility will house fledgling high-technology companies that focus on such advanced materials as photonics (the practical application of light), nanotechnology (atom-sized technology) and biomaterials. It will provide space for entrepreneurial start-ups and Clemson University spin-off companies and for larger companies considering relocating to South Carolina. The center will be adjacent to the Advanced Materials Research Lab, where faculty and students study everything from fuel-cell membranes for cars to faster, more efficient technology for computers. The SCRA building completes the complex.
Przirembel said he has named John Ballato, a Clemson professor with significant experience in advanced-materials research and industry relations, as associate vice president for research and economic development to shepherd Clemson’s advanced-materials initiatives. (See related story)
Innovate Anderson Executive Director Mike Panasko said, “From research support to space for business start-ups to support for marketing and other services, the Advanced Materials Center will be basically a destination location for this industry. We are excited to be moving forward.”
“The combination in Anderson of Clemson’s Innovation Center and Advanced Materials and a limited access SCRA Facility will provide one of the world’s top research and commercialization sites for advanced materials,” said Bill Mahoney, SCRA CEO. “ The best skill sets, facilities and equipment available to develop and apply advanced materials will be concentrated around one plaza, conveniently enabling our resulting collaborations to compete with anyone.”