Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

June 16, 2013 | Tom Ballard

Hawks provides update on Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus

CherokeeFarm_horiz_gray_lowres(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was excerpted from a recent email that Cliff Hawks, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation, sent to a mostly University of Tennessee list. We thought others should have the opportunity to read his update on the highly visible Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus. We are sharing with his permission.)

I have had the opportunity to meet many of the members of the university community on this email list, and I hope to meet many more soon. As I talk to deans and other academic leaders, I am impressed with the quantity and quality of the research being accomplished all across the university.

I am emphasizing the unique and promising message of Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus inside the university and across the country as I tell the story of innovation that the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are creating on 188 acres along the Tennessee River. I have also been impressed with the advances at ORNL during my contacts there, and the collaboration between UT and ORNL is outstanding.

The Cherokee Farm site is making great progress. Within a few weeks, the structure of the Joint Institute of Advanced Materials (JIAM) will rise above the ground and provide world-class home for the Institute’s current and upcoming advanced materials research.

The new JIAM facility will make Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus the first research park in the nation to have such a materials science research facility for the use of park tenants.

In July, the building will begin to top out and brickwork will begin. In the spring of 2014, exterior work on the facility will near completion. Work is scheduled to be finalized in late 2014 or early 2015.

Tenants at Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus will have opportunities to collaborate with JIAM researchers and have access to materials science capabilities from both UT and ORNL in this $47 million, 142,000-square-foot facility.

We offer $87 million worth of infrastructure and appropriate zoning, giving us a site that is construction-ready for tenants. We will be inviting members of the university community to visit the site throughout the summer and fall.

As facility work continues, I am meeting with a variety of other organizations and people that can support the success of Cherokee Farm. In addition to officials at ORNL, I am meeting with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation; LaunchTN; site selectors; elected officials; economic development representatives at the state and local level; Innovation Valley; and business leaders that appreciate the advantages of locating in a research park with immediate access to leading research. I have visited other research parks to learn about how they developed their capabilities and marketed their products.

My primary message to the university community is that Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus strongly supports UT’s goal of becoming a Top 25 public research university. Our role in helping achieve that milestone is well underway. Plus, the campus provides another path for UT researchers to bring vital research to the marketplace and to the public.