Welcome to Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus


Cliff Hawks

By Cliff Hawks
President and CEO, Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus

Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts on progress at the Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus and on innovation in general.

Our full website will tell you more about us, but Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus is a place where great ideas and research converge with business opportunities — an economic catalyst to bring corporations together with leading researchers.

The campus is a collaboration between the University of Tennessee, a major public research university, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, making Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus the only research campus in the Southeast partnering directly with a national lab.

Now into my sixth month as CEO of the Cherokee Farm Development Corporation, I am meeting with key people in the university, at Oak Ridge, in economic development and business, at other research parks, in government and with site selectors that represent companies seeking the kind of R&D opportunities we offer.

I am totally impressed with the quantity and quality of the research at the University of Tennessee and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

In meetings and speeches, I am emphasizing the unique and promising message of innovation that UT and ORNL are creating on 188 acres along the Tennessee River.

Tenants at Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus will have access to the Joint Institute of Advance Materials (JIAM) facility, which offers materials science capabilities available at few places worldwide. JIAM will marry the research capabilities of UT and ORNL in the $47 million, 142,634-square-foot building.

We offer $87 million worth of infrastructure and appropriate zoning, giving us a site that is construction-ready for tenants. Local and state incentives are on the table.

I have visited other research parks to learn about how they developed their capabilities and marketed their products. All of them point to the time it takes to build a full range of services and partners. We have our eyes open to the amount of work ahead, but we realize we have some immediate advantages that other parks may not.

The most important is the collaboration between UT and ORNL. That collaboration is long-standing and offers tenants access to the most powerful tools in high-performance computing and materials science – the only R&D park in the U.S. to do so.

In addition to combining the resources of UT and ORNL, when speaking to groups I also emphasize that Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus drives business results for companies through access to leading researchers and getting innovative products to market faster. Creating awareness of these benefits is critical to our success.

If you are a company and would like more information about the benefits of locating in Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus, please call me at 865-974-8210.

Let me introduce you to one of the most unique and promising sites to combine research and business.

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