A $65 million research facility in Greensboro originally intended for academic purposes has become a catalyst for business growth.

The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering is a shared project opened four years ago between UNC Greensboro and North Carolina A&T.

But now a group of around 30 manufacturing companies are using the facility in Gateway University Research Park to develop products. The Triad Business Journal's Katie Arcieri  writes about the program in this week's newspaper. She says the partnership provides access to resources that gives companies a competitive edge in the marketplace.

“This equipment that they have access to is some of the most rare and expensive technology equipment in the world,” says Arcieri.

“We are talking about scanning electron microscopes, lithography machines and helium-ion microscopes, so these are things most companies would not be able to buy on their own, but with the consortium and the joint school they're able to access it on a regular basis.”

Arcieri says the long-term goal is for some of the companies to locate operations within the research park's 75-acre south campus.

While several philanthropic organizations such as the Weaver Foundation and the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation in Greensboro also helped found the consortium and remain members to this day, joint school officials expect businesses membership to more than double to 75 or more over the next four to five years.

Earlier this year, VF Corporation announced it will open its Global Jeanswear Innovation Center at the site, creating more than two dozen jobs by the end of 2016.

The Business Report on 88.5 WFDD is a partnership with the Triad Business Journal. You'll find Katie Arcieri's stories and more breaking business news at Triad.Bizjournals.com.

Justin Catanoso is director of the Journalism program at Wake Forest University and a regular contributor to 88.5 WFDD.

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