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First-of-its-kind technology park created in Oak Ridge
The Oak Ridge Science and Technology Park, shown in this conceptual drawing, will be located on the ORNL campus and available for private sector companies that are collaborating with scientists at ORNL. (hi-res image)
The "Oak Ridge Science and Technology Park," located in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley on land provided by the Department of Energy, is the nation's first technology park on the campus of a national laboratory. The technology park will be available for private sector companies that are collaborating with scientists at ORNL. Laboratory officials also anticipate that the new park will be used to help create new companies from technologies developed at ORNL.
Gerald Boyd, manager of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Office, said, "Oak Ridge National Laboratory each year develops some of the world's most important new technologies. One of our priorities is to help make those technologies available for new companies and new jobs."
ORNL over the last five years has constructed nearly $2 billion in new facilities, including the Spallation Neutron Source and the Center for Computational Sciences. The technology park is located on land on a portion of the ORNL campus that is no longer used for research. The property was recently transferred to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, which will serve as manager of the technology park. CROET Director Lawrence Young said the transfer "represents a perfect example of how federal and local partners can work together for the benefit of economic growth." The Oak Ridge Science and Technology Park will be modeled after the Association of University Research Parks (AURP). The nation's first university-related research park was at Stanford University, while the largest is the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, N.C. The Oak Ridge technology park will be the first in Tennessee with an AURP designation. Located in the heart of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, the technology park offers access to unsurpassed research and development capabilities, a skilled talent pool, a modern telecommunications infrastructure, a central location and low business costs.
ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth believes the new park will open up partnership opportunities for a variety of groups that would like to have close and regular access to the laboratory's scientists and facilities. "In the years ahead I expect this park will be home to universities, large established companies, and small start-up companies. Each can benefit from the unique resources we have in Oak Ridge," Wadsworth said. Supporting Wadsworth's prediction, the ceremony was marked by an announcement of the technology park's first tenant. Pro2Serve Professional Project Services Inc., an engineering services firm, announced plans to construct a 100,000-square-foot facility that will serve as the company's National Security Engineering Center and corporate headquarters. Pro2Serve plans to add approximately 200 new employees to its staff over the next several years. Construction on the facility will begin this summer.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.