Innovation is a buzzword that is used a lot in the corporate world. But, what exactly is innovation? My preferred definition is, “creating value through the implementation of new ideas and technology.”
When our team here at JobsOhio determined that we wanted to serve as a catalyst for more corporate innovation, we introduced the JobsOhio Research & Development (R&D) Center Grant Program in June 2016. This proactive grant program provides qualified companies with an incentive to establish new R&D Centers in Ohio and position the state favorably to win production facilities after R&D products and services are commercialized.
The R&D Center Grant Program allows JobsOhio to make strategic investments in new R&D centers that support our targeted industries and the evolution of the Ohio economy. Examples of R&D centers include, among other areas of focus, additive manufacturing (3-D printing), advanced materials, aero propulsion, autonomous vehicles, biomedical, cybersecurity, data analytics, financial technology (fintech), energy storage/fuel cells, Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and unmanned aerial systems.
2017 R&D Center Grant Projects
Since its inception, four R&D centers representing an array of industries have been announced, with more deals expected in the coming months.
Most recently, Midmark Corporation, a leading provider of medical, dental and veterinary equipment solutions, announced plans to create at least 97 new jobs over five years at a new R&D Center in Versailles, Ohio, scheduled for construction next year. JobsOhio committed $5 million from its R&D Center Grant Program to support the project. With the new R&D center, Midmark and its clients will be better able to identify and launch solutions to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs and enhancing the patient experience.
Quality Electrodynamics (QED) officially opened its new research center in Mayfield Village, Ohio, this month. As the first recipient of the JobsOhio R&D Center Grant, the QED Research Center provides the research community and business leaders a platform to develop innovative imaging solutions to better diagnose, manage or treat common diseases across the health continuum.
In July, Franklin International Inc., one of the nation’s largest privately held adhesives and sealants manufacturers, announced plans to invest $4.4 million to construct a new 12,500-square-foot R&D facility at its corporate headquarters in Columbus. Franklin International plans to hire eight new employees at the facility, including highly skilled chemists and process engineers, to formulate new polymers, produce next-generation adhesives and innovate manufacturing technologies to increase production efficiencies.
Lastly, in January 2017, the state of Ohio, The Ohio State University and JobsOhio together invested $45 million for the first phase of a state-of-the-art hub for automated and autonomous testing at the Transportation Research Center (TRC). Construction is underway on the all-new, 540-acre Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test (SMART) Center, which is located within the 4,500 acres of TRC’s testing facility, the nation’s largest independent automotive proving ground. TRC has been testing different types of automotive components and vehicles – cars, trucks, buses, ATVs, military vehicles and virtually every kind of specialty vehicle – at its facility in East Liberty, Ohio, for more than 40 years.
Corporate interest in the JobsOhio R&D Center Grant Program has been high, resulting in new senior-level conversations with leading domestic and international companies. Ultimately, our goal is to see current and future R&D centers successfully commercialize innovative products or services that lead to new significant investment and corporate job creation in Ohio.