US President Barack Obama was the keynote speaker at SelectUSA Investment Summit, held June 19-21 in Washington, DC, highlighting the eight public-private cutting-edge manufacturing hubs opened in the US since the 2014 summit.

“These specialise in game-changing technologies like 3D printing, photonics and next-generation textiles,” President Obama told delegates. He announced a ninth hub, to be based in Los Angeles, that will design smart sensors to make manufacturing more efficient. “We have more hubs on the way,” he added.

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Innovation centres are boosting economic activity in a number of US locations.

April Chiang, international trade representative for the Kansas Department of Commerce, highlighted that Wichita State University Innovation Campus, which provides student-industry interaction and talent retention for Kansas, has attracted Airbus Americas. Its new centre is scheduled for completion in September 2016.

Leslie Murphy of the Community Development Department, Village of Skokie, Illinois, emphasised that the $500m-plus Illinois Science and Technology Park in downtown Skokie has attracted major firms including the US affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc., and New Zealand’s LanzaTech.

“The park was developed in the former corporate headquarters of [pharmaceutical company] G.D. Searle, and now encompasses a 23.4-acre campus,” she said.

Renewable energy

Bryan Gay of Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance added that Rev3 Innovation Center, located on the Northern Illinois University campus in DuPage County, is helping inventors and entrepreneurs take concepts from design to build to market launch.

“Strengthening the scientific community is Argonne National Laboratory, also located in DuPage County,” he said.

Scott Prestidge, energy industry director at Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., stressed that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Science and Technology Facility in Golden, Colorado, is fostering research inn hydrogen, solar and other clean energy technologies.  “One division – the wind turbine test laboratory – tests nacelle technology,” he said.

He added that Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, which operates four manufacturing sites in Colorado, recently entered into a conditional agreement with MidAmerican Energy Company to supply up to 1,000 V110-2.0 megawatt wind turbines for a 2,000-megawatt wind project in Iowa.

Erik Caldwell, director of economic development for the City of San Diego, California, pointed to San Diego’s innovation economy in bioscience and translational research. “We are attracting investors from Japan because of our value proposition,” he said. “The vast majority of those acquisitions are remaining in San Diego.”

SelectUSA was launched in 2011 as the foreign investment attraction wing of the US Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration. It acts as a vehicle both to help international businesses enter the US market and US economic development organisations attract business and create jobs. The SelectUSA 2016 Investment Summit, which hosted more than 2,500 guests from more than 70 countries in both the private and public sectors, is the event’s third year.