Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted unveiled the Columbus Innovation District Feb. 17, a plan to create 20,000 jobs with $3 billion in economic impact, with two local employers and the state investing more than $1 billion into the project.
JobsOhio, The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital will invest $1.1 billion in the Columbus Innovation District, including the development of an interdisciplinary research facility, an energy advancement and innovative center, an outpatient cancer facility and the region’s first proton therapy facility to treat cancer patients already underway at Ohio State’s West Campus, according to a Feb. 17 news release.
It aims to generate 20,000 new jobs in Central Ohio over the next 10 years, involving an estimated 10,000 direct STEM jobs in the technology and health care industries, as well as 10,000 indirect jobs in the community at large. The district will bring together globally recognized education and health care research institutions to bolster the creation of in-demand jobs and fuel $3 billion in economic impact for Columbus and Ohio over the next 10 years, according the release.
The Columbus Innovation District aims to be a hub for innovation and growth in Ohio, expanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational opportunities, the release said.
“The Columbus Innovation District will be the third anchor in our strategy to build on Ohio’s growing dominance as a world leader in medical research and health care talent,” DeWine said in the release. “These districts will attract researchers, who can create, develop and share their ideas with the world from Ohio.”
It follows the kickoff of both the Cleveland Innovation District – which launched in January with the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, MetroHealth Medical Center and University Hospitals as partners – and the Cincinnati Innovation District, unveiled in March 2020 with the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as anchors.
DeWine and Husted were joined by representatives from JobsOhio, Ohio State, Nationwide Children’s, Franklin County, the City of Columbus and state legislators to release plans for the district.
“With this announcement, Columbus becomes the third regional innovation district we’ve launched in Ohio in the last year, advancing world-class research, supporting intellectual property commercialization and new business startups while developing the STEM and computer science talent needed for health care and businesses to thrive,” Husted said, according to the release. “The people of Ohio will ultimately benefit from the fact that OSU and Nationwide Children’s, in collaboration with JobsOhio, share the common mission of advancing innovation, investment and economic prosperity in Ohio – now and for the future.”
JobsOhio, the state’s private nonprofit economic development corporation, is committing up to $100 million for the district, with Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s Hospital serving as the anchors to drive STEM talent production, National Institutes of Health and life science research, as well as business development in job creation largely focused on technology and life sciences in the health care industry, the release said.
“The Columbus Innovation District brings together leading area institutions that will have worldwide impact on the future growth and advancements in health care and education,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO, in the release. “JobsOhio and our partners see incredible opportunity for the Columbus district, together with the others across Ohio, to advance innovation, ultimately creating a global hub for fresh, creative and transformative ideas.”
The announcement included local support, as well as support from city and county officials.
“This strategic partnership with JobsOhio will create new opportunities for our faculty, staff and student researchers and entrepreneurs, further positioning Central Ohio as a leader to develop the exciting potential at the interfaces of biomedical and computer science and engineering research, ” said Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson in the release. “In addition, we will work with JobsOhio to grow the STEM talent pool, and educate a new generation of students who will continue to thrive in our growing economy.”
Additionally, the district is expected to generate another $2 billion in private development to build real estate and create a “vibrant, amenity-rich community” to house the expected 10,000 direct jobs spurred by the initiative.
“The Columbus Innovation District will help attract the best and brightest minds to Central Ohio, and allow Columbus to retain the talent that will follow this historic public-private investment in STEM,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, according to the release. “The district will create the environment for collaboration and the discovery and application of new technologies to solve some of our greatest challenges. This is a once in a generation opportunity that will produce thousands of new graduates, thousands more jobs and spur billions in private investment. It is an integral part of the Columbus growth strategy, and will help the city to align jobs, housing and infrastructure along the northwest corridor, propelling our city into the future.”