MARYSVILLE, Ohio, May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ohio Department of
Development today announced grants of $34 million to accelerate the growth of
Ohio's polymer and advanced materials industries. The grants will be used to
establish two Wright Centers of Innovation (WCIs). The centers will focus on
developing new high-growth technologies that will drive the creation of 4,500
new jobs in Ohio's polymer industry over the next three years and strengthen
the state's existing 140,000 polymer jobs. The announcement was made at The
Scotts Company, one of the nation's largest lawn and garden care products
companies, in Marysville.
The grants, made available through the state's Third Frontier Project,
will be distributed primarily to the Ohio State University (OSU), the
University of Akron, and the University of Dayton, with some funds also
allocated for the University of Toledo, Kent State University and Wright State
University. They will be used to create the Center for Multifunctional
Polymer Nanomaterials and Devices (CMPND) and the Ohio Biopolymers Innovation
Center (OBIC), both located at OSU. CMPND received $22.5 million in Third
Frontier awards, while OBIC was awarded $11.5 million.
Cash investments and in-kind match of over $52 million have also been
pledged for CMPND by 60 polymer industry companies to support these programs.
These include The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, GE Transportation, The
Sherwin-Williams Company, Honda, The Timken Company, Owens Corning, Ashland,
Keithley Instruments, Inc., PolyOne Corporation, Goodrich and Lockheed Martin.
"The announcement today is an exciting culmination of many months of
effort by Ohio's polymer leaders, the Ohio Polymer Strategy Council (OPSC),
key university leaders and industry collaborators," said Sharell Mikesell,
Ph.D., OPSC executive director. "Today's support from the Third Frontier
initiative will significantly strengthen Ohio's position as the world's
premier location for the polymer and advanced material industries."
Mikesell will serve as CMPND co-director along with James Lee, Ph.D.,
professor, the Ohio State University.
"Our overall goal is to develop multiscale synthesis and manufacturing
methods that are low cost and environmentally benign," Lee said.
The WCIs were major priorities in the Polymer Strategic Opportunity
Roadmap developed last year. The Roadmap called for creation of world-class
research centers in nanotechnology to build on Ohio's extensive polymer
technology and research resources. It also stressed the importance of
industry, universities and government working in collaboration to achieve
these goals. The creation of "smart" material applications will lead to job
creation in Ohio's polymer industry. According to the Roadmap, Ohio employs
more people in polymers than any other state.
The Roadmap study also pointed out the unique opportunity and fit of
polymers with agriculture in Ohio. The OBIC will extend Ohio's synthesis and
processing strengths into the arena of existing and future renewable
biopolymers. Thomas Waltermire, PolyOne president and chief executive
officer, and OPSC chairman, said that connection is critical to the
"This gives our industry a major opportunity to be leaders in providing
value-added products with nanotechnology and using materials that link to
another Ohio strength -- agriculture," Waltermire said.
Luis Proenza, Ph.D., president of the University of Akron, stated, "This
Third Frontier grant for CMPND will provide The University of Akron a major
opportunity to strengthen our world-renowned polymer program. A building
dedicated to the advancement of nanotechnology and other emerging polymer
research will be added adjacent to our recently dedicated Polymer Engineering
building. Our new collaborative efforts with OSU and the University of Dayton
will contribute substantially to Ohio's leadership in the global polymer
Frank O'Brien-Bernini, Owens-Corning vice president of science and
technology, said the two centers "will provide Ohio-based companies with a new
and valuable opportunity to develop technologies and products to better
compete in our global markets. Together, these initiatives will also enable
unique collaborative efforts to explore the integration of nanomaterials with
biopolymers. This brings together Ohio's capabilities in polymers and
agriculture in a powerful way."
Mickey McCabe, Associate Vice President for Research, University of
Dayton, said, "This Wright Center of Innovation, coupled with Ohio's recent
Nanotechnology Summit and the excellent nanomaterials programs at our partner
universities, gives us the critical mass needed to move ahead of other states
in the nation. The growing momentum of Ohio's nanotechnology initiatives will
speed the translation of knowledge into products and create real economic
impact and wealth for the state. The University of Dayton is proud to be a
part of CMPND and remains a strong supporter of Ohio's Third Frontier
Wayne Earley, executive director of PolymerOhio said that, in addition to
creating new technologies, the WCIs will have another impact that could be the
most significant for the long-term business health of Ohio companies.
"These centers will provide the opportunity, as never before, for
collaborations across technologies and for new collaborations among Ohio
companies," Earley said. "In the end, this could be the biggest benefit for
The Third Frontier Project is the state's largest-ever commitment to
expanding Ohio's high-tech research capabilities and promoting innovation and
company formation that will create high-paying jobs for generations to come.
The Wright Centers of Innovation are Third Frontier programs designed to
support large-scale world-class research and technology development platforms
that are focused on accelerating the pace of Ohio commercialization.
The Ohio Polymer Strategy Council is a group of senior industry, academic,
and government leaders working collectively to strengthen Ohio's polymer
industry and its image, and to establish global leadership in technology-
driven opportunities. The mission of the OPSC is to address challenges to the
industry's global competitiveness.
SOURCE Ohio Polymer Strategy Council