By Colin Poitras
The University of Connecticut broke ground for its new Technology Park Wednesday, marking a new era of public-private research partnership at UConn that is intended to drive Connecticut innovation and competitiveness in the state, region, and beyond.
State lawmakers and representatives from some of Connecticut’s leading industries were on hand to celebrate the new Tech Park and the start of construction for the Park’s inaugural structure, a 113,000-square-foot, multi-level facility known as the Innovation Partnership Building or IPB.
This anchor building will offer large, flexible laboratories and highly-specialized equipment not readily available to industry. Teams of world-class academic researchers, private industry scientists, and business entrepreneurs will work collaboratively within the facility to develop innovative new technologies in energy, electronics, materials science, additive manufacturing, microscopy, cybersecurity, and other fields.
“This facility is an exciting development not only for UConn but for our entire state,” UConn President Susan Herbst said. “The resources being built by UConn and our industry partners are helping to strengthen Connecticut’s economic future by connecting leading industries with outstanding research facilities in Storrs, UConn Health in Farmington, and in New Haven.”
Industry partners supporting the Tech Park initiative have committed more than $60 million in funding for advanced research partnerships at UConn. Those companies include FEI, United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney, Eversource Energy, GE, Comcast, and Fraunhofer USA.
Along with the state’s landmark investments in UConn through Bioscience Connecticut and its bold support for UConn’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines through Next Generation Connecticut (one of the most ambitious state investments in higher education and research in the nation), the Tech Park is expected to serve as an important engine for job creation and be a critical component in Connecticut’s long-term economic growth.
One of the top public universities in the country, UConn has seen research grants double in recent years and currently manages $250 million in research activity around the state. The Tech Park is expected to strengthen that base by attracting more world-class researchers, encouraging new business growth through technology commercialization, creating high-paying jobs, and drawing on the University’s strong industry partnerships to leverage millions of new dollars in federal and private research funding.
“The Innovation Partnership Building is the first step towards a fully occupied technology park that will help to create jobs and grow Connecticut’s economy by capitalizing on scientific discoveries and expertise at the University,” said State Rep. Gregg Haddad (D-Mansfield). “This is a win for the University, a win for our community, and a win for the state.”
Said UConn Provost Mun Choi: “UConn has a proud history of supporting the state’s economy through groundbreaking research, academic excellence, and strong industry-university partnerships. This Technology Park provides the intellectual and physical assets to support the development of groundbreaking new technologies that will define our future.”
The newest anchor partner for the IPB is the Eversource Energy Center, a research lab dedicated to the development of advanced storm damage modeling technology to ensure the reliable delivery of power throughout Connecticut and New England. The Center, announced Wednesday, was made possible through a new research partnership involving UConn and Eversource, New England’s largest energy delivery company. The Center is one of six industry-sponsored centers associated with the project.
“The Eversource Energy Center will directly fund research and cutting-edge technologies, giving our customers an even more efficient and reliable electric grid,” said Eversource President of Corporate Citizenship Rod Powell. “We’re extremely fortunate to partner with a renowned institution like UConn and have our research center in their new Innovation Partnership Building. I look forward to the incredible ideas and revolutionary breakthroughs that are sure to come from this center.”
In addition to the Eversource Energy Center, the Innovation Partnership Building’s other expected anchor partners include:
The Tech Park is being constructed on land adjacent to the newly constructed North Hillside Road extension as part of UConn’s North Campus. The area is bounded by Route 44, Route 195, and North Eagleville Road. The Innovation Partnership Building is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2017.