A few days ago, the Department of Commerce, which is charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable community and economic vitality in Washington, announced that there are $13.5 million in the Capital Budget for Innovation Partnership Zones (IPZ) to foster economic growth.
Anything that fosters economic growth is a good thing, but what are IPZs, anyway?
The Innovation Partnership Zones program was created in 2007 by the Washington State Legislature to strengthen the connections between research and business, encouraging regions in Washington to fire up their global competitiveness, and create more high-paying jobs.
It’s been five years and, so far so good, as we have 14 of them! This session with a measure sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney, we strengthened them by requiring that they must be part of an industry cluster, which will encourage the creation of more zones that will prompt current and future economic development.
The projects that will receive funding include:
Tri-Cities Research District - $5 million for a new research and education facility in the heart of the area’s wine country, allowing Washington State to continue to solidify its position as the second leading wine producer in the nation.
Walla Walla Valley IPZ - $3.67 million for human capital, addressing a shortage in energy technicians in the region who are responsible for maintaining the area’s 5,000 wind turbines.
Tacoma: Urban Clean Water Technology Zone - $3.6 million for three new labs:
- Clean Water Innovation Development & Technology Transfer Laboratory.
- Shared use lab at the Center for Urban Waters to develop new clean water technologies.
- Clean Water Technology Aquatic Toxicology Lab to
study the effects of pollution and diseases on fish, aquatic insects and
Grays Harbor IPZ - $750,000 to equip the Coastal Innovation Zone R&D Business Incubator Facility to help businesses develop, test and commercialize new products with a heavy focus on reuse of industry byproducts and wastes.
Bothell Biomedical Manufacturing IPZ - $500,000 for a new incubator space to house companies that design, develop and manufacture biomedical devices.
For more information on these projects go here.