Nanotechnology Center Planned to Spur Energy Innovation and Job Creation

The Nano World Headquarters (NWHQ), located in the Houston, Texas region, will serve as the leading global center for scientific nanotechnology collaboration and as an accelerator for start-up companies. The initiative - situated in one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. and recognized as a world leader in science, technology and energy innovation –- represents a national solution for economic recovery.

Nanotechnology’s potential impact is considerable and includes the science necessary for exploring cures for cancer, developing the technology to rebuild a “smart” more efficient national power grid, and creating a plethora of clean energy solutions such as batteries for electric cars. By shepherding in renewable energy solutions, and providing the foundation for a science and technology revolution, NWHQ will create thousands of jobs and foster new scientific-based businesses to flourish and compete on a global level.

Nanotechnology is one of the fastest growing areas of scientific exploration. It holds a promise to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems in energy, aerospace, healthcare and information technology. Accordingly, the sector’s potential to help boost the U.S. and global economy is significant. Nanotechnology is projected to impact the global economy by 3.1 trillion dollars by 2015. Strikingly, the total volume of nano-related products sold globally is expected to soar past that of oil & gas in the next 10 to 20 years. NWHQ will provide an important avenue for innovation and foster the growth of new nano businesses to strengthen the nanotechnology landscape and position the United States as a leader in this field.

The creation of NWHQ is moving forward at a pivotal moment as the new administration is advocating a stimulus plan (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan) to strengthen large-scale “shovel-ready” projects that will create new jobs, embody energy efficiency approaches, and further scientific innovations. NWHQ is an ideal candidate for funding through the stimulus package due to its potential to strengthen the United States economy in the immediate and long term.

The development of NWHQ is critical at this juncture since other nations – including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia – have already started to invest heavily in the commercialization of nanotechnology. The NWHQ will propel the United States in the direction of global leadership in nanotechnology innovation and commercialization.

Specifically, NWHQ is a $580 million 35-acre project situated in the WaterLights District, a certified LEED Gold mixed-use property plan, just one mile south of Houston, Texas city limits in Pearland, Texas. The $700 million WaterLights District is currently under construction. Historic Real Estate, Inc. is the developer of the Nano World Headquarters and the WaterLights District. HOK Architects is spearheading the planning and design. The property is utilizing the most advanced clean energy approaches available, including solar and hydro power. NWHQ holds the promise to significantly strengthen the economy through scientific research in its state-of-the-art shared equipment facility coupled with business development support for commercializing innovation in energy, healthcare, aerospace, and information technology. The project is expected to create 900 jobs immediately in 2009 and over 30,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs by 2015.

“Nanotechnology advancement requires the collaboration of various disciplines – including chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering – as well as financial and technical support systems to take nanotechnology solutions from concept to development and commercialization,” explains Valerie Moore, Nano World Headquarters Executive Director. “We are pleased that all of these elements come together at the Nano World Headquarters, promising unprecedented progress in nanotechnology.”

The Houston, Texas area was a natural choice for the Nano World Headquarters since it is already the hub of significant nanotechnology exploration. First, Houston’s Rice University is at the forefront of modern nanotechnology with two of the three co-winners of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry serving as professors. One of the Nobel Prize winners, Dr. Richard Smalley, founded the first Nanotechnology Center, which was re-named after his death in 2005, “Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.” Dr. Smalley was an instrumental figure during the initial planning of the NWHQ and helped inspire its ultimate creation.

Additionally, Houston is also arguably the Energy Capital of the world, home to the largest medical center, the Houston Medical Center, and the NASA Johnson Space Center. With all of these factors at play, the NWHQ found a home at WaterLights where it could grow, thrive and contribute to nearby scientific institutions.

The Mayor of Pearland, Texas is a vocal proponent of the Nano World Headquarters. “Nano World Headquarters represents an important step forward in science and technology innovation,” explained Mayor Tom Reid. “We are proud to have this great institution in our city and believe it will go a long way in strengthening our economic vibrancy and positioning the United States as a world leader in nanotechnology advancement.”

The organization is established as a 501(c)(6) and is actively seeking federal funding from the federal stimulus package. Currently key partnerships are already forged with academic institutions, medical research facilities, and corporate interests. Also, during this formative stage, various funding sources are coming together from private entities and public sources at the local, state and federal levels.

Lastly, a world-renowned management team is now in place for NWHQ. Recently, Valerie C. Moore, PhD was appointed the Executive Director. She is a preeminent expert in the field of nanotechnology who was mentored by Dr. Richard E. Smalley on doctoral research focusing on the application of nanotechnology in materials, energy and medicine. Dr. Moore has applied her expertise at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, The Texas Heart Institute, and the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

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