(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third article in a four-series reviewing a recent report completed by Daniel Myers. The title is “An Outlook on Future Entrepreneurial Growth within the State of Tennessee.” The assessment takes a look at three of the state’s entrepreneurial centers – Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
The section of Daniel Myers’ report (daniel-myers-knoxville) on the home of the Volunteers is titled “Knoxville: Atomic Work, High-Energy Potential.”
During our interview, he admitted that he “focused more on Oak Ridge” as he undertook his analysis of the region. After all, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory with a heritage dating back to the Manhattan Project.
“It is no mystery that ORNL is on the forefront in researching advanced technologies in neutron science, computation, materials, and renewable and nuclear energy,” Myers wrote in his report.
He also mentioned the lab’s high performance computing work, the Y-12 National Security Complex, Uranium Processing Facility, and innovation hubs like the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors.
The report talked about the strong partnership that ties ORNL and the University of Tennessee (UT) together, specifically citing the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education.
“Getting these young people involved provides them an incredible head start compared to students in other locations,” Myers observed.
One relatively new program that did not make Myers’ report is the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) run by a subsidiary of UT’s Research Foundation with strong support from ORNL.
With its strong legacy of both energy and materials research, Myers sees the region making a major contribution to the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT).
“As the number of devices begins to increase with the growth of the IoT movement, electricity generation and storage will become an increasingly important issue,” he wrote. “Batteries and electronics for devices that are wearable, washable, and ultimately durable will be a necessity.”
Myers sees ORNL researchers playing key roles in everything from the materials that are worn to the way that the energy to power the devices is produced and even security surrounding the data that is transmitted from the devices.
“Collectively, the environment created by ORNL and the surrounding institutes, universities, innovation hubs, entrepreneur centers and various other programs allow the Knoxville region to play a serious role in the development and manufacturing of state-of-the-art technologies that will significantly change the day-to-day operations of normal private and public life for the entire globe,” Myers wrote in concluding his analysis on the Knoxville/Oak Ridge region.
NEXT: A look at Myers’ hometown of Chattanooga.