OPINION: Expanding research and innovation in eastern Idaho benefits the whole state

Tuesday October 15, 2019

By Governor Brad Little

As our economy evolves and we position ourselves to remain competitive with 49 other states and countries across the globe, our ability to develop and attract a skilled, educated workforce becomes increasingly important.

Idaho’s students and workforce must possess the skills to fill every level of need, from vocational graduates performing skilled labor to the PhDs that power innovation.

Naturally, working hand-in-hand with the business community through public-private partnerships has proven to be one of the best tools we have to position our state and its students for future success.

With that in mind, our state’s latest collaboration with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in eastern Idaho holds great promise to benefit all of Idaho.

This week, two new facilities located on the INL Idaho Falls campus opened their doors alongside the state’s Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), creating a total of 150,000 square feet dedicated to research, development, testing, training and more.

The facilities will enable some of the country’s brightest minds working at INL or in our state’s colleges and universities to partner with industry, universities across the country, and other Department of Energy laboratories.

The new Collaborative Computing Center (C3) will give students and researchers access to high-performance computers used to test models and simulate technologies that can create safer and more efficient energy systems and technology.

The new Cybercore Integration Center brings together federal, state, academic and private industry representatives to jointly engineer resilient infrastructure that can withstand current and future threats ranging from cyberattacks to natural disasters.

This alignment of professionals brings industry-driving innovation, top-of-field mentorship, advanced research and practical application to students across our state and regional institutions of higher learning.

It is not a stretch to say that these facilities and the collaborations they’ll foster will be unique across the country, and perhaps across the globe.

With the concept of these new buildings, the state saw an opportunity to partner with INL in ways that further the lab’s critical missions while, more importantly, enhancing our universities’ educational offerings and providing our students career opportunities that promise to keep them here at home.

I am pleased to see our state’s partnership with INL continue to grow, and I am excited about the opportunity it presents for economic growth, world-class innovation, and student achievement right here in Idaho.

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