North Carolina Celebrates 50 Years of Research
North Carolina's Research Triangle Park (RTP) is a shining example of how a state can leverage its assets to further innovation and growth. Celebrating its 50th year in operation, RTP maintains its standing as one of the leading and largest research parks in the world. Building on its legacy of success, the park continues to form relationships and networks with other research organizations to create economic advantages, locate and brand technology resources, and ensure opportunities for future generations, as well as to compete on a global scale.
Strategically located between three of the country's most prestigious research universities near the eastern seaboard, RTP draws from a large concentration of college graduates and postgraduate degree holders. In addition to the University of North Carolina campuses, the state boasts five other top-ranked research universities, including Duke (Durham, NC). The 7000-acre development houses operations for more than 170 companies--including giants like GlaxoSmithKline--in the biotech, life sciences, and other industries. Though it is the oldest continuously operating research park in the United States, it's not showing its age. Staying true to its mission to enhance the state's global competitive position through collaborative science and technology developments, RTP has established a network of research parks that have cropped up across the state in recent years. The North Carolina Research Parks Network consists of seven parks, including RTP, which use the unique characteristics of their properties and programs to offer resources and real estate to technology-based companies.
With such a powerhouse of established research organizations and networked resources and affiliates, North Carolina is equipped to weather many aspects of the current economic storm. The state's Economic Investment Committee has the authority to award Job Development Investment Grants, for example. For each year in which an applicable company meets the required performance targets, the state will provide a grant equal to 60% of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs. Additionally, such grants can provide funds to the Industrial Development Fund for infrastructure improvements in economically distressed counties. And, as yet another example of how the state uses its resources to yield growth in multiple sectors, when a Job Development Investment Grant is awarded to one of the state's more economically prosperous counties, 15% of that grant is allocated to the Industrial Development Fund to encourage economic development in less-prosperous counties. The first company to receive one such grant this year is ASCO Power Technologies (Raleigh), which manufactures and supplies power switching and control products designed to ensure reliable back-up electrical power for critical operations. The grant was awarded to facilitate the company's planned expansion to its facility in Davidson County as well as to add 328 jobs over the next five years.