SC: Innovate Anderson, Clemson University Ready to Grow Advanced Materials Industry | Trade and Industry Development

SC: Innovate Anderson, Clemson University Ready to Grow Advanced Materials Industry

Sep 16, 2010
Clemson University Advanced Materials Center master plan completed

Anderson County today announced its strategy to aggressively pursue the advanced materials industry with the unveiling of its master plan for the Clemson University Advanced Materials Center (CU-AMC).

Through a unique partnership with Clemson University, Innovate Anderson, a public-private partnership with the mission of growing Anderson County's economy, purchased acreage adjacent to Clemson research facilities on behalf of the County. The goal is to attract startup companies, corporate landing parties, and collaborative research initiatives with the University. Developed by the upstate architectural firm of McMillan Pazdan Smith, the comprehensive plan features five development districts, including the two areas currently in use, each with a distinct character. The first phase of development at the center of campus, designated “The Village,” will include a central green space, a mix of uses including support retail and a conference center with overnight accommodations. In keeping with Clemson University's emphasis on sustainability, the CU-AMC plan features pedestrian and bicycle paths connecting buildings with woodlands and open spaces. The plan takes advantage of the CU-AMC's natural resources, including Lake Hartwell shoreline.

The advanced materials industry offers exceptional growth potential for South Carolina, and Innovate Anderson Chairman John Miller said the CU-AMC puts the county in an excellent position as a focal point for attracting this segment of the economy.

"The combination of assets that already exist — available land in a beautiful lakeside setting, convenient location to I-85 and proximity to Atlanta and Charlotte, and a well-established on-site research initiative in materials science and engineering — is not to be found anywhere else. The Advanced Materials Center already is home to national materials-related facilities such as Clemson's Advanced Materials Research Laboratory, (AMRL), a state-of-the-art facility that houses internationally recognized research programs in optoelectronics, chemistry and materials science, as well as one of the nation's most outstanding electron microscopy facilities and a professional staff that provides services to private industry and academic clients. The Clemson University Information Technology Center, the National Brick Research Center, and the Tile Council of America also are located on the campus. We know we have a winning combination in the CU-AMC, and this master plan is a clear message that we are serious about attracting business to Anderson County," Miller said.

Clemson University is a leader in advanced materials research, which accounts for almost 30 percent of the University's total research funding. According to John Ballato, Clemson's associate vice president for research who champions the advanced materials initiative, the University has a significant track record as a resource for the advanced materials industry, with 14 startup companies and landing parties based on Clemson advanced materials expertise and more than 70 advanced-materials-based technologies available for licensing.

One particular advantage for recruiting businesses to the research campus, Ballato said, is the 43,000-square-foot innovation center due to be completed next spring. It will provide business incubation space for companies interested in locating here.

The innovation center, which is a joint project of Clemson University and the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), is immediately adjacent to the AMRL. Ballato noted that such proximity is important and reflects the intent of the overall master plan. Buildings and gathering spaces throughout the CU-AMC campus will be positioned in a manner that promotes intellectual and social interaction.

"Innovation, collaboration, and ultimately technology transfer occur when people have an opportunity to interact spontaneously as well as intentionally. Clustering buildings and providing common spaces for faculty and students to interact with private-sector researchers is itself an innovative way to stimulate creativity and new ideas," Ballato said.

Another advantage he noted is proximity to Clemson's world-class computing and information technology facilities in the Advanced Materials Center.

"Anderson County is home to one of only a handful of university computing facilities of this caliber in the nation," Ballato said. "Its power, the network capabilities, and the state and regional leadership of our computer experts in helping establish state and regional collaborations in both public and private sectors are a unique resource."

“McMillan Pazdan Smith has been proud to be a part of producing the vision for Innovate Anderson that allows for a thoughtful master plan development along the shores of Lake Hartwell. Future development will form neighborhoods for research and development around a central hub of commercial and incubator space designed to give the campus a sense of place and a unique identity for Clemson University,” said Brad Smith of McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture.

For more information about the plan and available properties, contact Innovate Anderson president Mike Panasko at 864-260-1061 or


About Innovate Anderson
Innovate Anderson is a public/private non-profit organization formed by the contributions of both the public and private sector. Innovate Anderson is an important catalyst for future-oriented community development strategies that will help Anderson County compete in a challenging global economy.

About CU-AMC
The Clemson University Advanced Materials Center (CU-AMC) is a 265-acre innovation campus and technology park where Clemson University's world-class research, electron microscopy and computing facilities anchor an environment of collaboration among academic, government and private-sector partners to grow South Carolina's advanced materials industry. For more information, contact John Ballato, interim associate vice president for research, 864-656-2424, or

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