TRIANGLE NC

VOL17 ISS2 2017

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — TRIANGLE NC | VOLUME 17 — ISSUE 2 22 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK Research Triangle Park BY DREW BECKER The jewel in the crown of innovation, Research Triangle Park (RTP) is a lush expanse of greenery and modern architecture as seen from above flying into the RDU airport. This 7,000-acre tract of land, once "only scrub oaks and possums"—as described in its history—has become the lynchpin transforming the state's economy from farming and furniture to high tech: biotechnology, microelectronics, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and environmental sciences. This bold concept evolved from a vision in 1959 to renovate North Carolina's economy, drawing on tal- ent from three major universities: The University of North Carolina, North Carolina State and Duke. In turn the excellence of these institutions was enhanced. The results of this project managed by the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, have been phenomenal: 3,256 patents and over 1,900 trademarks for inven- tions ranging from AstroTurf to UPC codes, Internet 2.0 to life-saving drugs. Major companies including IBM, Cisco, GSK and RTI International have benefited and in- vested more than $296 million in R&D into the region's universities each year. This is double the average invest- ment for innovation clusters elsewhere in the nation. RTP offers a lower cost of living than Silicon Valley or Boston's Corridor, and the average salaries of $80- $90K have greater purchasing power. Another benefit is the brain trust: The Triangle boasts 50% with bach- elor degrees and 18% of the RTP population are PhDs. RTP is also a good place for women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields and in business. Women fill important roles as executives, founders, scientists, and business leaders in RTP- based companies. RTP is designed not only to help big businesses but also to provide resources for entrepreneurs and to edu- cate the surrounding population. The latest addition is the Innovation District—a recently purchased 100 acres—which is being developed for mixed-use. This expansion is another example of how RTP is creating a learning/discovery/innovation community to benefit North Carolina and beyond. The first project was The Frontier. Lodged in what was formerly an IBM building, it houses facilities for entrepreneurs and is available for education by area residents. The Frontier provides a co-working/incuba- tion space to use for meetings, workshops and classes at no charge. One can sense the vibrant environment upon entering the building. It is alive with the sounds of innovators and those who ask, "What if." Over 200,00 have come through the doors since it opened in early 2015. Over 60 innovation companies also share the space. Another project, The Lab provides affordable wet and dry labs and has 30 spaces for one-to-three-person com- panies. Many start here and move on to build facilities in the Park. As magnificent as the facilities, location and inventions are, the real excitement comes from inspiring stories of some of the 50,000 people who work in the park. Here are a few brief examples of RTP successes. • AgBiome began with five idealists and has grown to 80+ employees. They have moved three times to increase their lab space and have received millions of dollars of funding. They create natural fungicides using a highly effective microbe against a broad range of fungal diseases. Their teamwork results from a non-hierarchical culture guided by co-CEOs. • Ginger Dosier is the female founder and CEO of bio- MASON which creates cement bricks that do not need to be cured. These bricks are grown with non-pathogenic bacteria and significantly save fossil fuels and agricultural land through this new process. The company now has its own facility and employs 25-30 people. The RTP Founda- tion wants to use their bricks for future building. • IBM, Cisco, BioGen and other socially conscious com- panies have partnered with RTP to engage more girls and minorities in their successful STEM mentoring program directed at middle and high schoolers. RTP has transformed the Triangle and is fertile soil for incubation and maturation for many successful compa- nies. It will continue to shine, providing new inventions and opportunities in our thriving region. [] innovation central in NC

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