The University of Toledo Research Enterprise

Technology Clusters in Northwest Ohio

What are technology clusters?
Geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions, such as trade associations, training providers, financial institutions, economic development organizations that work together to solve problems and create opportunities for all involved.

Cluster-based economic development begins when a geographic region identifies a small number of industries as their focal point for their development strategy.

Technology Clusters for NW Ohio

The University of Toledo's Urban Affairs Center, working collaboratively with Bowling Green State University's Center for Policy Analysis and Public Service, identified a number of technology clusters for Northwest Ohio that are the focus of a coordinated economic development program involving the Regional Growth Partnership, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, the City of Toledo, and Lucas County. Technology clusters are geographic concentrations of industry that are supported by related institutions (e.g., trade associations), government agencies, and university programs to share knowledge and create a critical mass of talent that increases the local industry's overall competitiveness. The UT/BGSU Study identified three industrial sector clusters (automotive, plastics/glass, and specialized agriculture) and four cross-cutting clusters (transportation, alternative energy, information technology, and advanced engineering). University of Toledo researchers are supporting three clusters: specialized agriculture, transportation, and alternative energy.
Specialized Agriculture:
Through funding from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the USDA, UT is working with the Agricultural Research Service unit located at The University of Toledo to support the local greenhouse industry. The cluster is led by local growers, now called Maumee Valley Growers, who have already commissioned a marketing plan. The growers are working with ARS and UT scientists and engineering on a number of projects, including work on hydrogels that allow plants to stay fresh longer on the shelves, and co-op purchasing opportunities such as propane and business insurance from area private sector vendors. A new website featuring the best of research, statistical data and retail and wholesale area trade information is nearing completion and will be “live” the first of the year: www.maumeevalleygrowers.com
Transportation:
The University of Toledo's Intermodal Transportation Institute provides research and educational program support and focus to the region's transportation cluster. The ITI was successful in winning a US Department of Transportation University Transportation Center and is a major collaborator in a multi-university UTC led by the University of Detroit-Mercy. Focusing on intermodal transportation issues, transportation utilization, transportation planning, and transportation technologies relating to alternative energy use and energy efficiency, the ITI has a range of projects underway, most of which are collaborations with local industry or government agencies.
Alternative Energy:
The alternative energy cluster is a cluster of emerging technologies that cut across a number of industrial sectors. As an emerging research-intensive cluster, the technology is strongly grounded by research and academic programs at The University of Toledo. Major activities are underway in photovoltaics that support growing national companies such as First Solar LLC of Perrysburg, photovoltaic hydrogen, that links well to MWOE, a UT spinoff company, and other companies that produce systems or technologies for solar energy, such as ITF or McMaster Energy Enterprises. Other technologies include work on fuel cells, biomass (biodiesel and ethanol), energy storage, systems integration for alternative energy systems, and wind energy.

Related links:

White Paper on Clusters, Fall 2004, by Michael Carroll and Neil Reid
NORTHWEST OHIO'S GREENHOUSE CLUSTER: FROM CONCEPT TO IMPLEMENTATION, a paper by Neil Reid and Michael Carroll
UT-UTC University of Toledo-Universtiy Transportation Center
Last Updated: 3/23/15