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CoEE Program creates 3,200 jobs, boosts economy

CoEE Program creates 3,200 jobs, boosts economy

New annual report reveals that program is improving

S.C. economy and quality of life


According to its fiscal year (FY) 2009 annual report, released this week, South Carolina's Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) Program is succeeding at jumpstarting the state's economy and creating high-paying jobs. The program, enacted by the General Assembly in 2002, has brought more than one-quarter billion dollars in non-state investment into the state's economy and has led to the creation of 3,200 new jobs, most of which are high-paying, knowledge-based economy positions. Other program accomplishments include:


  • Creation of 45 cutting-edge research centers, public-private partnerships known as "Centers of Economic Excellence" or "CoEEs" at the state's research universities (Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina). These centers are helping South Carolina become a leader in emerging fields such as automotive engineering, nanotechnology, biomedicine, cancer research, energy, environmental science and others.


  • Recruitment of 22 of the world's leading scientists and engineers to South Carolina as CoEE Endowed Chairs. These men and women have come from renowned institutions such as MIT and NASA and countries such as Germany and the UK.


  • Awards of 13 U.S. and international patents. Increasingly, CoEE researchers are converting groundbreaking scientific discoveries into marketable products and services.


  • Founding of 11 new start-up companies in South Carolina based on CoEE research. These companies, such as MUSC start-up FirstString Research, are creating new jobs in several areas of the state.


The state's research universities have also reported some exciting developments in FY2009 because of the CoEE Program:



  • In March 2009, Hollings Cancer Center was designated a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Center--one of only 64 centers in the country. The work of several CoEE Endowed Chairs was a critical factor in NCI's decision. A study conducted by the MUSC Center for Health Economics and Policy Studies predicts the NCI designation will add $31 to $38 million to the Charleston area's economy over the next five years.


  • CoEE Endowed Chairs were instrumental in helping MUSC win two $20 million grants, one from the National Science Foundation and the other from the National Institutes of Health.


  • The CoEE Program has supported the development of a statewide network of health care simulation centers, which have trained 14,000 physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and students since 2008. This effort, led by CoEE Endowed Chair Dr. John Schaefer of the Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety CoEE, is helping to increase the efficacy and safety of treating patients across South Carolina.


  • The CoEE Program is helping more stroke patients survive and thrive in South Carolina. In May 2008, the CoEE Endowed Chairs at the Stroke Center of Economic Excellence implemented the Remote Evaluation of Acute Ischemic Stroke (REACH) Network. The REACH Network provides around-the-clock, Internet-based stroke consultation for patients in rural areas of the state. Through REACH, doctors at MUSC can treat stroke victims at community hospitals remotely with Tissue Plasminogen Activator (t-PA), a clot -busting drug that dramatically reduces stroke-related disability or death. Because of the REACH Network, from May 2008 through June 2009, twice the number of stroke patients at REACH clinics and hospitals were treated with t-PA therapy than were treated in the full previous year.


  • During FY2009, MUSC recruited three new CoEE Endowed Chairs, Dr. Melanie Thomas (Gastrointestinal Cancer Diagnostics CoEE), Dr. Paul Morgan (Brain Imaging CoEE), and Dr. Jihad Obeid (Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety CoEE).




  • CoEE Endowed Chair Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider and his team were awarded USC's single largest federal grant ever, a $12.5 million U.S. Department of Energy award for advanced energy research. The grant will create one of 31 national Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.


  • Two fuel cell-related CoEE Endowed Chairs headlined the National Hydrogen Association annual conference in Columbia, which brought the world's top hydrogen experts to the state.


  • Global medical giant Smith & Nephew announced a $5 million investment in USC's Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Science CoEE to develop tissue-engineered materials and implantable devices.


  • The Healthcare Quality CoEE has partnered with IBM and Siemens to develop information technology infrastructure across South Carolina. This infrastructure is designed to improve health care, increase research, enhance access to clinical trials, and ultimately reduce medical costs.  In addition, this CoEE has partnered with Columbia-based Collexis Holdings to form the nation's first biomedical research database.


  • During FY2009, USC recruited four new CoEE Endowed Chairs, Dr. Martin Morad (Regenerative Medicine CoEE), Dr. Jay Moskowitz (Healthcare Quality CoEE), Dr. Brian Benicewicz (Polymer Nanocomposites CoEE), and Dr. Rita Snyder (Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety CoEE).


At Clemson:

  • American Titanium Works (ATW) announced that it would invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the Upstate to locate facilities near Clemson's four CoEE Endowed Chairs in automotive engineering. The company is building a world-class titanium mini-mill in Laurens County and will invest an estimated $422 million, creating 320 new jobs. ATW also announced it will establish its applications development and engineering technical center at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus. This technology center will create 40 additional engineering jobs.


  • Scientists at the Optical Materials CoEE developed a practical optical fiber, which could have a profound impact on efficiency in electronic devices worldwide.


  • Because of the CoEE Program and CU-ICAR, Clemson was the first institution of higher education in the nation to offer a Ph.D. in Automotive Engineering. In FY2009, that program graduated its first class. Since its creation, the program has doubled in size every year and it currently includes students from across the U.S. and countries such as China, India, Italy, Germany, and Malaysia.


  • Also at CU-ICAR, CoEE Endowed Chairs have been involved in creating an innovative educational concept called Deep Orange. The project will allow CU-ICAR graduate students to create a vehicle from scratch over the course of two years.


  • During FY2009, Clemson recruited one new CoEE Endowed Chair Dr. Paul Venhovens (Automotive Systems Integration CoEE).



To view the full FY2009 CoEE Annual Report, go to .





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