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SALT LAKE CITY -- Jobs now and in the future: That's one of the driving forces behind a new research center at the University of Utah.
The university is building a 200,000 square foot facility, a project that will employ 900 workers. The hope is that, in the long run, many more jobs will be created by the research that will be done there.
It's groundbreaking in more ways than one. This marks the start for a University of Utah research center as well as for a project called USTAR, which aims to attract esteemed researchers from a variety of disciplines to create new technologies and ideally new companies and new jobs.
"USTAR resides at the heart and soul of everything that we're doing in this state," said Gov. John Huntsman.
University of Utah President Michael Young said, "The business community, the philanthropic community, the political community, the university community all came together to do this."
The $130 million Sorenson Biotechnology Building, funded by the state and private donors, will be super energy efficient. The idea is to generate more green, as in profits, by generating tech-based startups.
The governor says, especially during an economic downturn, it's worth planning ahead. "It's an exciting thing to do in this climate because it speaks to hope and to a state that's on the move, as opposed to one that's falling into an abyss like a lot of other states are and a lot of other university systems, frankly. So, we've got a good thing going here. We're proving the point by getting this building up and running," Huntsman said.
One researcher has launched a new company to commercialize use of targeted drugs to treat cancer and other diseases using nanotechnology.
"There's no question that with the help of USTAR, we're able to establish companies that are going to benefit the state of the economy," said USTAR Professor Hamid Ghandehari.
The building is scheduled to open in 2012. It is the first of four planned buildings aimed at attracting some of the world's most prominent faculty and fueling Utah's economic development.