Oregon's first signature research centre, the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, opened its administrative headquarters today in a building on Hewlett-Packard Company's Corvallis campus and was hailed by political, industrial and academic leaders as a key part of Oregon's economic future.
The location of ONAMI, a predominantly academic research facility, on the campus of a private company in the heart of Oregon's Willamette Valley exemplifies the unprecedented level of collaboration that is fuelling the institute - collaboration that includes academic researchers, the Pacific Northwest business community and Oregon's governmental leadership.
ONAMI involves Oregon's three largest public research universities - Oregon State University, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon - and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the state of Oregon and the world-leading high-technology industry cluster of Oregon and southwest Washington.
The Hewlett-Packard building will serve as ONAMI's temporary administrative headquarters, home to the OSU/PNNL Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, and product development space for new ONAMI-related companies. Meanwhile, the three universities will complete construction of additional ONAMI research facilities. Hewlett-Packard is donating the three-year lease of the building, valued at $2 million.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski both spoke today about the economic impact ONAMI holds for Oregon in the form of new jobs, products, companies and a technology-savvy workforce.
Wyden called ONAMI "an amazing collaborative partnership" that brings together "the best and brightest minds" working on micro- and nanotechnology.
"It's obvious that nano rocks here in Oregon," Wyden said. "In part because we have such a strong partnership, Oregon is well-positioned to get one of the national nanotechnology research centres authorised by the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, which I passed last November. This would not only bring millions of federal research dollars to Oregon and the jobs that come with that money, it would also give Oregon the national recognition it deserves in this field."
The new products developed at ONAMI will be based on combining nano- and microtechnologies and tapping Oregon's unique position as home to the world's leading inkjet manufacturer, Hewlett-Packard Co.; the world's first 90nm/300mm wafer fabrication facility, Intel; and many nano- and microtechnology equipment suppliers, such as FEI Company, Tektronix, and Electro Scientific Industries.
Wyden and Kulongoski were joined by state senators Frank Morse and Ryan Deckert, as well as Mike Kluse, associate laboratory director of the National Security Directorate at PNNL; Tim Weber, director of the Advanced Materials and Process Lab at Hewlett Packard; and Skip Rung, director of ONAMI.
Dave Chen, chair of ONAMI's advisory board and a partner in the Pacific Northwest's leading venture capital firm, OVP Venture Partners, emceed the event and opened his remarks with one word, "Wow!"
"For Oregon to be opening ONAMI's headquarters here today is an incredible accomplishment," Chen said. "In a little more than a year, ONAMI has grown from just an idea into a regional collaboration that is unstoppable." He said Oregon's chances of landing a national nanotechnology center are very good.
University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer, PSU President Dan Bernstine, and OSU Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Sabah Randhawa touted the importance of ONAMI on higher education.
"Here in Oregon-especially at our universities-we are dreamers, and we dream big," Randhawa said. Frohnmayer called ONAMI "a unique combination of brains and energy."
More than 70 of the region's top academic and government researchers were on hand to display research that ranged from transparent electronics and compact biodiesel production to nanostructured materials and metal nanoparticle arrays.
Industry partners working closely with ONAMI researchers also displayed their research and development results. These companies included Hewlett-Packard, Intel, ESI, FEI, PNNL/Battelle, Tektronix, Home Dialysis Plus, and others.
Home Dialysis Plus, a Portland startup that is developing the world's first portable kidney dialysis machine, described how ONAMI technology is enabling their groundbreaking product.
The Oregon legislature recently approved $21 million in funding for ONAMI-related construction projects at all three campuses. Graf Hall at OSU will be renovated to house the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, a partnership with the PNNL focused on commercialisation of products employing ONAMI technology; the UO will construct an ONAMI research building in its Riverfront Research Park; and PSU will expand its microscopy facility.