The JobsOhio Innovation Strategy

MLK Interchange

"If we want Ohio to be the most innovative, entrepreneurial state in the Midwest, we have to make sure our state is a magnet for research, capital, and talent..."
- Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted.

The coronavirus pandemic unleashed seismic forces that are reshaping the economic landscape across the U.S. Businesses are taking stock of what they do and how they do it. Healthcare imperatives are fueling unprecedented investment. Moreover, advances in biotechnologies and workforces are reshaping what a meaningful career and better quality of life might look like – and where to find it.

The resulting migration of people, companies, and capital are on a scale not seen since the late 1990s. This has created a generational opportunity for reshaping where businesses should be. Ohio is seizing the chance to win the hearts and minds of these business leaders.

Ohio’s stakeholders invest in resources that promise to turbocharge growth in critical sectors driving innovation today. With 14 top-ranked hospital systems and the distinction of being the only state to have two cities named in Forbes’ Top 10 Rising Cities for Startups (Columbus and Cincinnati), Ohio is seizing the chance to actively invest in developing research and talent opportunities.

To build upon its already robust plans to expand next-generation industrial installations across the state, JobsOhio launched a bold Innovation Strategy in 2020. The system serves to attract companies and talent in the fastest growing sectors, improve the vitality of urban and rural areas, and empower skilled talent to thrive. From increasing the number of research endeavors to attracting capital and forming new businesses, the strategy has made a significant impact on Ohio’s competitiveness across the entire innovation continuum.

The results have been undeniable. Once ranked 17 out of 17, Ohio now ranks second in the Midwest for venture capital opportunities. Enabling this dramatic shift was made possible in part by JobsOhio’s Innovation Strategy through which Ohio can continue to accelerate the growth of leading-edge companies, technologies and talent.

Innovation Districts

JobsOhio, together with the state of Ohio and partners, is investing over $3 billion to fuel the creation of three world-class Innovation Districts. The goal is to create sustainable ecosystems of ideas, infrastructure, and talent where the world’s top people and companies come to roll up their sleeves, complete, and grow.

Ohio’s Innovation Districts bring together three synergistic constituents:

  1. Medical and research facilities: These facilities will become incubators for generating intellectual property. They will also drive patent production and the creation of spin-off startups.
  2. Academic institutions: Will focus on STEM programs and degrees that create an ongoing, large pipeline of qualified, desirable STEM talent.
  3. Private Corporations: Large anchors and early-stage companies that will benefit from STEM talent attraction and retention and the networking assets conducive to creating and commercializing new ideas. This will then boost economies in the surrounding communities and drive urban development.

These innovation districts are expected to inspire more than 45,000 new STEM graduates, fuel an estimated 60,000 new jobs, and generate up to $9 billion in annual economic impact to the state over ten years. JobsOhio is investing $300 million in these innovation districts – $100 million in each of the three.

  • Cincinnati Innovation District: Launched in March 2020 as part of a first-of-its-kind partnership between JobsOhio, the University of Cincinnati, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, this Innovation District aims to mint more than 15,000 STEM graduates and $2 billion in research that will apply ultra-modern technologies across multiple life sciences and computer science disciplines.
  • Cleveland Innovation District: Launched in January 2021 in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, MetroHealth Medical Center, and University Hospitals, this Innovation District will be a nucleus for healthcare innovation and community health, further energizing Northeast Ohio’s already robust biomedical research and commercialization capabilities.
  • Columbus Innovation District: Launched in February 2021 in partnership with the Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, this Innovation District establishes inviting and amenity-rich places for leading educational and healthcare research organizations to collaborate in ways that lead to economic growth, discoveries, and impactful career opportunities within Ohio’s largest city.

The three innovation districts and the breakthroughs they foster promise to establish Ohio as a global leader in healthcare, life sciences, and technology – and the place to be for quality of opportunity and life. Community building in these districts is meant to create fertile ground for research and innovation leading to the commercialization of ideas, while keeping trained talent in Ohio. At the same time, this will fuel unprecedented urban renewal through significant investments in facilities and real estate.

Meet the Team

Kevin Chambers
Kevin Chambers
Managing Director

Research and Development Center Grants

Ideas spark innovation, then research and development (R&D) turn those ideas into real-world solutions that transform industries. Ohio will be home it all.

JobsOhio is committed to establishing a broad array of new R&D labs and centers in the state to drive lifesaving and industry-changing innovation. That’s why, in 2016, we created the $100 million JobsOhio Research & Development Center Grant program that provides funding for a portion of the costs associated with establishing and equipping a new R&D center in Ohio.

The JobsOhio R&D Center Grant program facilitates new strategic corporate R&D centers in Ohio that will support the development and commercialization of emerging technologies or products that align with one or more of JobsOhio’s targeted industries (Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Aviation, Automotive, Healthcare, Financial Services, Food and Agribusiness, Technology, Logistics and Distribution, and Energy and Chemicals).

The Impact

In 2019, a Brookings Institution report called the program “one of the most ambitious efforts” to support a state’s innovation economy and enhance business R&D.

Interest in the program has been immense and attracted successful applicants from domestic and international companies. To date, JobsOhio has committed approximately 20 R&D Center Grants, totaling $57.5 million, with companies that will invest $460 million and create nearly 1,000 new jobs.

This R&D funding is not a tax credit, and companies have no expense on their part – other than investing in Ohio. The R&D Center Grant is just that – a grant. Companies receive this money specifically to facilitate R&D that will generate a return on investment for them, Ohio, and the future of the specified industry.