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Clemson-SCRA collaboration to connect innovation centers statewide


CLEMSON — Clemson University and SCRA have announced a new collaboration that will virtually connect innovation centers across the state, with SCRA becoming the first South Carolina Founding Innovation Partner for the university’s Watt Family Innovation Center.

20141029_130955Through deployment of high-tech studios, the collaboration will enable and expand ultra-high-speed, virtual connectivity capabilities of the Watt Center with business, academic, government and economic development entities across South Carolina and the nation.

“We look forward to an increased level of collaboration with SCRA in order to foster innovation and bring new technologies to market,” said Clemson President James P. Clements. “This is a goal that Clemson shares with SCRA, and the Watt Family Innovation Center is designed as the place to make this happen.”

As the center’s second Founding Innovation Partner, SCRA will provide $3 million for new cross-discipline operations and sustainability for supporting extended network and operations, including equipment to establish virtual connectivity between the Watt Family Innovation Center, SCRA Innovation Centers and research universities in the state.

This commitment includes science and technology advancements, special projects and support for faculty, staff and students, curriculum and operations of the Watt Center.

“The immediate and comprehensive advancements to multi-party communications that these studios will provide will greatly contribute to and improve our state’s ‘knowledge economy,’” said SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney. “This collaboration will add value and users to the current health-care industry core that is using the SC LightRail high-speed research network.”

scra-cu“Since being chartered by the South Carolina Legislature more than 30 years ago, SCRA has been highly successful in building partnerships that have made significant contributions to our state’s knowledge economy and academic institutions. They have consistently utilized emerging technologies to create value, jobs and growth in South Carolina with global connectivity. We are honored to have SCRA as our first South Carolina Founding Innovation Partner,” said Charles Watt, founding director of the Watt Family Innovation Center.

Designed to foster innovation and interdisciplinary education and research activities, the Watt Center is adjacent to the R.M. Cooper Library on campus. The new facility is under construction by Turner Construction Co, with architectural design by Perkins+Will. The guiding principle is “designing for innovation,” to make the space flexible, inspiring, collaborative and social.

The four-story, 70,000-square-foot center will transform student lives and the academic campus. It is a student-centered space that will serve a diverse community. Supported by a strong technology infrastructure, the space will connect students with industry partners. SCRA’s Innovation Centers are structured to enable commercialization and innovation to support growing technology-based businesses across the state.

The SCRA commitment is part of the university’s The Will to Lead capital campaign to raise $1 billion to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.

Haworth Inc., an innovative international company in furniture and organic workspace design and products, became the first Founding Innovation Partner for the Watt Center in March.


Clemson University
Ranked No. 20 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.

SCRA ( ) is an applied research corporation with more than 30 years of experience delivering technology solutions with high returns on investment to federal and corporate clients. To fulfill our mission, SCRA has three sectors: Our Technology Ventures sector has helped more than 290 early-stage companies to commercialize innovations and create jobs, our Applied R&D sector manages over 100 national and international programs worth $2.8 billion in contract value and our R&D Facilities sector builds and manages research facilities that include wet labs, secure rooms for sensitive work and advanced, high-tech manufacturing shops. Multiple economic impact studies show SCRA’s cumulative output into South Carolina’s economy to be over $16.6 billion.

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