State Announces $34 Million To Support Polymer and Advanced Materials Industries

Creation of 4,500 New Jobs in Ohio Expected

May 10, 2005, 01:00 ET from Ohio Polymer Strategy Council

    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
 industries' success.
     "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