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Establishing a Regional Water Technology Innovation Cluster

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Presentation on theme: "Establishing a Regional Water Technology Innovation Cluster"— Presentation transcript:

1 Establishing a Regional Water Technology Innovation Cluster
Captain Anthony T. Zimmer, PhD, PE, CIH National Risk Management Research Laboratory, EPA

2 Overview Background Establishing a cluster Results to date Conclusion

3 What’s an Technology Innovation Cluster?
Clusters foster innovation through dense knowledge flows and spillovers Strengthen entrepreneurship by boosting: New enterprise formation Enhancing start-up survival Enhance productivity and income-levels Positively influence regional economic performance (Brookings Institute, 2010)

4 Technology Innovation Cluster examples
Most famous domestic example is “silicon valley” Intel, IBM .. Apple, Adobe, Google Another example is Israel Declared water a top priority Implemented a highly coordinated inter-ministerial program Annual government budget of $300 million Predicted 2011 exports of $2.5 billion Top-down versus bottom-up

5 What’s in it for the EPA? Not a one way street of EPA helping the RTIC
Pooling EPA’s limited resources with others to increase efficiency and to maximize our impact Research that moves beyond literature to societal use Innovations in small water system technologies

6 Why water (global)? Half of the world’s population will suffer from severe water shortages by (Maxwell, 2010) 40% of the world’s population does not currently have access to basic sanitation and clean running water. (Maxwell, 2010)

7 Why water (domestic)? Dilapidated infrastructure – 17% of treated water is lost to leaking pipes (EPA, 2010) 40% of US waters are characterized as “heavily polluted” (versus 70% of Chinese waters) Universal presence of “xenobiotics” in US waterways (i.e., manmade chemicals not typically treated in a modern plant) Unsustainable depletion of underground aquifers (e.g., 50 to over 200 foot drop in parts of southwest) (USGS, 2003) Loss of natural wetlands – over 50% loss in lower 48 US states since the 1600s (EPA, 2010)

8 So why try this in Cincinnati?
Water research started by USPHS officers in the early 1900’s Crucial ingredients for a cluster (business, academia, government, support organizations) Large degree of “intellectual property” w/in the region

9 Overview Background Establishing a cluster Results to date Conclusion

10 Federal Support Supported by President Obama and Congress
Supported by Administrator Jackson, EPA Supported by Administrator Mills, SBA Cincinnati selected as the test bed

11 Plan of attack Workforce Funding
Assigned as co-lead with 4 federal employees on detail and laboratory support Funding Student contractor Contract support Building the case for a Water Technology Innovation Cluster Meet regional leaders - Pointed out that this effort would not and could not be lead by the federal government (we’d mess it up) Our efforts served to jumpstart the initiative and provide initial support We would plug/play to extend our R&D reach (our advantage)

12 Water trends Water has been frequently referred to as the “petroleum of the next century” (Goldman Sachs, 2008) Global water consumption is doubling every 20 years, more than 2 times population growth Growth outlook (Goldman Sachs, 2008): 3-5% for developed markets 10+% for developing markets US expenditures for drinking and wastewater estimated at $480 billion over the next 20 years (Maxwell 2010 & EPA, 2010)

13 Water trends (cont) Scarcity could impair economic growth
North America has access to 15% of the global water supply while supporting just 8% of the world’s population In contrast, China has only 7% of the renewable water supply, but 21% of the population Scarcity & geopolitical conflicts Interestingly, drinking water within the US is greatly undervalued (Maxwell, 2010)

14 Regional stakeholders

15 Cluster Creation Process Overview
Stakeholder engagement, social capital building and requires: Involvement of the leaders from the key cluster sectors Inventory of regional assets Agreement by leaders to form the cluster Grassroots formation of a steering committee Development of an operating structure & organization by the committee

16 Overview Background Establishing a cluster Results to date Conclusion

17 Results to date WTIC formation announced January 2011

18 Results to date Series of meetings ranging from technology to research grants Announcement by both EPA and SBA Administrators on the WTIC formation EPA research/SBIR funding of $5M Fully functioning WTIC entity ( At a meeting and had the economic development leads from Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. The Ohio Lead, Elen Van Der Horst pointed out that this was the first time they had gathered together and especially interesting from the standpoint that is was for the common good.

19 Overview Background Establishing a cluster Results to date Conclusion

20 Conclusions Personal development
The “win-win” associated with a regional cluster - Selected in part because I am a USPHS officer – our strength is both the depth and breadth of or experience. For government R&D entites, the WTIC allows us to extend our reach Plan to take some of the engineered nanoparticles that I am developing to create patents, license the patents, enter into CRADAs and hopefully use the WTIC to have my ideas used by society

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