Corporate Research Corridor
Jefferson Lab, a world-class national laboratory specializing in particle physics, has been present in Newport News for over 30 years. During this time, the Lab has won over $3.2 billion in federal funding and made groundbreaking discoveries impacting the international nuclear physics community. Jefferson Lab recently completed a $400 million federally funded upgrade, which will double the power of the existing facility. The upgraded facilities will attract increasing numbers of scientists from across the world seeking to conduct research at Jefferson Lab. Governor Terry McAuliffe visited Jefferson Lab in September 2014 to celebrate this new milestone and expressed that Newport News is fortunate to have such a unique and important science asset, which attracts over 1,300 international users annually and is an important driver of the local economy in an era of shrinking defense spending.
Currently, Jefferson Lab is preparing to compete for a next generation Department of Energy facility that consists of a $620 million dollar proposal requiring the construction of a new ion accelerator and collider track connected to the existing CEBAF electron accelerator. Jefferson Lab is one of two locations competing for this new facility. The community benefit of the new facility would be substantial as it would support a cumulative 5,000 new jobs over seven to 10 years and generate local spending of about $72 million annually. One factor that can help Jefferson Lab win out in the competition is its capacity to commercialize research. A planned corporate research center adjacent to Jefferson Lab would provide this advantage.
Tech Center plans propose a corporate research center containing almost 1 million square feet of office and lab space. The presence of a research center next to Jefferson Lab will provide immediate opportunities for collaboration between Jefferson Lab scientists and the private sector. In addition to the research center, the broader Tech Center development includes housing, retail and commercial uses. The provision of these amenities align with a growing trend of mixed-use research parks and will contribute toward the attraction of skilled workers to Newport News benefitting both the researchers at Jefferson Lab and the companies occupying the corporate research center.
The corporate research center, through a partnership with W.M. Jordan Company and Virginia Tech, would provide another boost to the already diverse higher education presence in the City and on the Peninsula. Virginia Tech has successfully cultivated a corporate research center in Blacksburg, Virginia, and will adapt its model to the benefits provided by the City of Newport News and Jefferson Lab. Virginia Tech brings with it the successful VT KnowledgeWorks program, which promotes and fosters entrepreneurship and encourages bridging the gap between research and commercialization. Expertise provided by Virginia Tech will be instrumental in the success of the corporate research center in Newport News and the commercialization of the ground-breaking research produced by Jefferson Lab.
As Newport News continues to grow, the activity at Jefferson Lab and Tech Center provides a tremendous opportunity to further diversify the economy and to create a lively research and development presence, both within the City and Hampton Roads.