We play well together. So everyone gets better toys.
You could say healthy collaboration has been in our DNA forever. Our triple helix model for business development, though, goes back a "mere" 50 years. That's when leaders of the region's major research universities, businesses and government came together to create The Research Triangle Park. This visionary idea has held up well - it's still providing a competitive advantage for our companies today.
The seeds of regional collaboration planted many years ago have grown into a dense network of researchers who continuously innovate, entrepreneurs and investors who turn discoveries into products and companies, and governments that structure intellectual property, regulatory and tax systems to enable new companies and industries to thrive.
A tightly linked, integrated and collaborative economic development community provides the connective tissue that keeps business, government and academic resources aligned and focused on business success.
Triple helix is in our DNA. It's who we are. It's why we're recognized globally for regional collaboration. The International Economic Development Council even selected us for its first-ever Award for Excellence in Regionalism and Cross-border Collaboration.
Our triple helix created the N.C. Board of Sciences and Technology in 1965 - the first of its kind in the nation. It was not only cheered, but funded by the state legislature to strengthen our science and engineering base through research grants to private and public institutions.
Triple helix innovation is the business model that created RTI International, born in 1958 with the guidance and support of government, education, and business in North Carolina, growing from a handful of scientists in central North Carolina in 1959 to a staff of more than 2800 in more than 40 countries today. RTI is now one of the world's leading independent, nonprofit research and development organizations, whose activities both mirror and support national priorities and policies as well as diverse commercial, industrial, and academic endeavors.
Triple helix innovation created the N.C. Biotechnology Center 25 years ago. That center's investments in research, commercialization and companies over more than two decades has transformed our region into one of the three top biotechnology regions in the nation.
It created the Biofuels Center of North Carolina to lead an ambitious statewide effort to convert 10 percent of all our liquid fuels into locally produced biofuels by 2017. This initiative places our region in the forefront of innovation and investment in a globally significant emerging industry. It gives our rural areas vast new markets for their agricultural products and a burgeoning new industry for their workers.
It's also woven into the workings of the NCSU Nanofabrication Facility, which houses virtually all standard thin film processing tools including a state-of-the-art ASML laser scanner for high volume, 193 nm patterning. The facility serves as a melting pot for a community of top-notch researchers from academia, government labs and industry representing a variety of disciplines.
And now, at age 50, our triple helix model has taken up gaming. A range of new tax credits and financial incentives are growing our interactive gaming and e-learning cluster, already the East Coast hub for this multi-billion emerging industry, and building the largest gaming engine center in the nation.
Playing together isn't just more fun; it's better business. Collaboration connects players - plain and simple. And that leads to more creativity and more innovation. Which, come to think of it, is all pretty fun too.