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Aerospace Industry Leaders Discuss The Industry's Future In Washington State

Joint Center For Aerospace Technology And Innovation, Innovate Washington Host One-Day Symposium

Innovate Washington and the newly formed Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) brought together an elite-class of aerospace experts at their first annual future of aerospace symposium on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus held Monday. The symposium follows a recent proposal to the FAA to site an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and testing facility in central Washington – the development of which many cite as the future of the industry.

“Washington has long been a leader in aerospace, and we are thrilled to be aggressively driving the conversation on what is next for the industry and in particular for Washington state’s role in the industry,” said Bart Phillips, vice president of economic development at Innovate Washington. “Expanding the state’s innovation into unmanned aircraft systems is an exciting opportunity to create new jobs." A recent study from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) noted that this innovation has the potential to bring more than 10,000 jobs to the state.

The symposium featured industry thought leaders from Washington, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), among others, who will explore what they consider to be the future of aerospace through interactive and discussion based sessions ranging from biofuels and 787 production to space exploration and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Monday also marked the public launch of JCATI, a new organization founded around the principles of public-private collaboration and experiential learning. Established by the former Governor Christine Gregoire’s office and the Washington state legislature to support the aerospace industry, the center’s main goal is to develop aerospace research collaborations among the state’s 4-year public universities with strong industry partnerships to benefit the state’s economy and provide research opportunities to students across the state. By providing practical experience, JCATI is able to both enhance the industry as a whole and continue to drive statewide expansion. Initial grants of more than $1.3 million have been provided to faculty throughout the state to further their research and encourage innovation in Washington. To celebrate the research produced from their efforts, the grant recipients will demonstrate and showcase their research findings during the symposium.

“This symposium helps further our mission of pursuing joint industry-university partnerships in new technologies that are relevant to aerospace firms in Washington State,” said Timothy Stevens, Chair of JCATI and President, Triumph Composite Systems. “Through creative collaboration and highlighting our broad thought leadership capabilities, we hope to keep Washington as the leader in aerospace innovation in new and exciting sectors.”

JCATI and Innovate Washington believe that while the state has long been center stage in American aerospace invention and innovation, a greater emphasis in the field at the university level in Washington is key to maintaining and enriching the region’s presence in the field.

FMI: www.engr.washington.edu/jcati/symposium.html

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