Industry Cluster Development

Shaping a Vision for Emerging Industry Clusters

Industry clusters are groups of firms that gain a competitive advantage by co-locating in a geographic region and sharing assets, networks, knowledge, workforce training, etc. The Office of Economic Development partners with allies to help support existing and emerging regional industry clusters by leveraging University research, faculty expertise, facilities, education programs, and more. A few examples of regional clusters are listed below (not a comprehensive list):

  • Advanced Manufacturing - UVA has a number of industry collaborations that address advanced manufacturing challenges. Ongoing support for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) unites students, researchers, government, and private companies to improve manufacturing technologies and processes and further develop a workforce that drives innovation in Virginia.
  • Biotechnology - Central Virginia is home to more than 50 life sciences organizations engaged in developing therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, and other products and services to improve human health. A large portion of the University's research funding is related to biotechnology, making us a natural player in accelerating and sustaining industry growth. Together with private companies, the University can advance the biotechnology industry to create more high-quality jobs and sustain an economic engine for our community. The University recently partnered with the CvilleBioHub and City of Charlottesville on a GO Virginia-funded initiative that will accelerate the biotechnology cluster in the region.
  • National Defense and Intelligence - Central Virginia is home to a strong presence of federal and contract agencies that support national defense and intelligence, including those located at Rivanna Station. UVA's Applied Research Institute serves as a conduit between the University and the nation's defense and intelligence communities, supporting applied research, education, and training programs focused on homeland security, national intelligence, and defense objectives.  The UVA Research Park hosts a cluster of companies that support Rivanna Station. Collaboration between industry, government, and academia continues to build the defense cluster in Central Virginia, creating jobs and solving challenges of national importance.
  • Industrial Hemp - Industrial hemp has huge potential for economic impact in Virginia. UVA faculty member Michael Timko lends research expertise to cultivate industrial hemp and re-establish it as an important sector in the Virginia economy. Re-establishing the industry would reduce the need to import seeds and materials from other countries, creating new sources of revenue for farmers and restoring land previously cultivated for tobacco and mining. Professor Timko is working with colleagues at UVA-Wise to consider opportunities in Southwest Virginia.