Governor Chris Gregoire announced
the designation of 11 Innovation Partnership Zones in Washington, geographic areas that will promote and develop the state’s regional economies. Innovation Partnership Zones build on the success around the world of “research parks,” such as the Research Triangle in North Carolina
and Torrey Pines in California
and bring together research and higher education opportunities, innovation and economic activity to be a strong engine for regional economies.
“Washington is home to some of the greatest innovations in the world and I am excited to support the continued success of our state’s world-class companies,” said Governor Gregoire. “We’ve seen what can happen when we bring together research, training and commerce, put them in a beaker and shake - Innovation Partnership Zones will be powerful economic engines to support our regional economies.”
Areas designated as Innovation Partnership Zones receive special access to state funding and resources that otherwise might not have been available.
The five designees were selected to receive grants totaling $4.7m, allocated in the 2007-2009 capital budget, to jump-start development activities.
The Innovation Partnership Zones legislation calls for successful applicants to be awarded the designation of an Innovation Partnership Zone. Five of these applicants were also awarded grants, which may be used for such expenses as shared infrastructure, telecommunications, equipment or construction, and up to 10 percent for administration.
The five applicants designated Innovation Partnership Zones and awarded grants are:
Bellingham Innovation Zone, Port of Bellingham – For low-wake, fast ferry vessel prototypes, hydroscience and engineering and design, wake wash energy studies, advanced composite and aluminum alloy techniques.
Grays Harbor Sustainable Industries Innovation Partnership Zone, Port of Grays Harbor – For research and development of bioenergy, bio-based product manufacturing, particularly high-value byproducts from bio-based energy production.
Pullman Innovation Partnership Zone, Port of Whitman County – For clean information technology and datacenter technologies, such as energy efficient technologies, and power and cooling infrastructure.
Spokane University District Innovation Partnership Zone, Greater Spokane Inc. – For biomedical research such as computational biology, bioinformatics, systems biology, epigenetics, genomics, chromosomal biology, and drug discovery.
Walla Walla Valley Innovation Partnership Zone, City of Walla Walla – For agricultural innovation with a focus on enology/viticulture and water/environmental studies.
Applicants receiving the Innovation Partnership Zone designation are:
Aerospace Convergence Zone, Workforce Development Council Snohomish County – For research in new materials and processes for aircraft production.
Battelle, Sequim Marine Research Operations, Clallam Economic Development Council – For marine biotechnology, coastal assessment and restoration, forecasting stressors on marine and estuarine systems.
Bothell Biomedical Manufacturing Corridor, City of Bothell – For the establishment of a University of Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Technology Institute, principally to support medical device/ultra-sound manufacturing.
Discovery Corridor Innovation Zone/Steinmueller Innovation Park, Columbia River Economic Development Council – For semiconductor and micro-device design, IC manufacturing and processing, display technology and multimedia.
South Lake Union Life Science Innovation Partnership Zone, City of Seattle, Office of Economic Development – For bioscience and biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, cardiovascular and regenerative biology, cancer research, infectious disease research.
Tri-Cities Innovation Zone, Port of Benton – For research in sustainable development, with focus on integrated electrical-thermal production, solar dish generating systems, and commercial-scale fuel cells.
The Innovation Partnership Zones legislation requires the director of CTED to make annual designations by October 1. To qualify for designation, applicants must partner research, workforce training and a globally competitive company in close geographic proximity for a cooperative, research-based effort that will lead to new commercially viable products and jobs. The Zone Administrator must be an economic development council, port, workforce development council, city or county. Designations last for four years and then a designee must reapply.