Providing Critical Economic Support, Giving, University of Delaware
University of Delaware

UD's Plans for Chrysler

In November 2009, the University of Delaware purchased 272 acres of land adjacent to UD's South Campus - property formerly occupied by the Chrysler Newark Assembly Plant. Click here for more information.

The University of Delaware: Providing Critical Economic Support

by President Patrick T. Harker

This nation’s universities have long provided critical support to their local and regional economies. The University of Delaware is no exception. UD spends $397 million annually in Delaware, and $505 million in the four-state region encompassing Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Our total expenditures support 5,900 jobs in the state and 7,200 jobs in the region. Altogether, our annual in-state economic impact is $601 million, and our regional impact exceeds $870 million.

Economic Leadership
However, the role of higher education in economic development goes much further than operational contributions. More and more, universities are being called upon to take a leading role in economic growth and transformation. We’re expected to develop the new ideas, technologies, products, and processes that will revolutionize local economies. We’re expected to connect these breakthroughs with industry, patent and license inventions, launch and nurture new firms, conduct collaborative research, and cultivate academic fields that contribute to technological advance. And, of course, we must educate those who will power this community of innovation.

AerialChryslerScience & Technology Campus
In November 2009, the University of Delaware purchased 272 acres of land adjacent to UD’s South Campus—property formerly occupied by the Chrysler Newark Assembly Plant. Redevelopment of this land into a major science and technology campus gives us the opportunity to strengthen UD and focus on our core priorities; to stimulate invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship; to expand strategic partnerships and foster collaboration; and to serve as an even more powerful economic engine for the state and the region.

Many of the industries driving the 21st-Century economy will have a home on the property: biomedicine and biotechnology; environmental science; alternative energy technologies; interdisciplinary engineering. And with those industries come jobs.

Consider this: The Delaware Technology Park, about two miles from UD’s campus, is five buildings on 40 acres—about 200,000 square feet in all. Since start-up, it has attracted $250 million in investment and $300 million in grants. And with 54 tenant companies, the park has had a hand in creating 16,000 jobs over the last decade. Now consider the potential of a 272-acre piece of land whose first phase of development—comprising just one-third of the total acreage—could yield 4 million square feet.

Investing in Our Creative Capital
But acreage and square footage aside, this isn’t a real estate development. It’s a long-term investment in individuals and innovation. It’s an investment in the problem-solving potential of people working together. It’s an investment in our creative capital—by far, our most important asset going forward.

And that capital isn’t UD’s alone. Partnerships will be critical to the transformation of the Newark property.

Health Professions ComplexUD Sign
For instance, the campus will house a large health professions complex featuring state-of-the-art instruction and research facilities. UD’s College of Health Sciences will have a home there, as will several components of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance.

The Alliance is a partnership among the University of Delaware, Thomas Jefferson University, Christiana Care Health System, and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. The four partners are pooling assets and expertise to conduct cutting-edge bioscience research and expedite its clinical application; to expand Delaware’s pipeline of highly qualified health professionals; and to improve healthcare delivery statewide.

Thomas Jefferson University is planning to locate its Campus for Healthcare Education on the Newark property, meaning that nursing and pharmacy students—along with other health professionals, faculty, researchers, and administrators—will work and learn in this area, stimulating Delaware’s retail, housing, and service sectors.

The economic impact of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance cannot be overstated: It will yield new health-professional jobs, new business startups and expansions, more industry investment, significant federal funding, and, of course, some groundbreaking science.

UD–U.S. Army Partnership
The Alliance isn’t the only partnership that will reside on this campus. Earlier this year, the University signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Army’s Research, Development, and Engineering Command. The agreement creates a powerful research partnership between UD—with our Category 1 research capabilities—and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

The agreement allows UD and Army engineers to collaborate more efficiently and to more quickly get research to market—and, ultimately, to U.S. soldiers. We’ve signed a statement of work under the agreement, outlining joint research in antenna technology and composite materials. And we hope one day the campus will be home to a U.S. Army–UD cooperative research center.

We will ensure that this interdisciplinary and inter-laboratory collaboration generates high-tech startups and spinoffs, as the incubation and proliferation of businesses based on the campus’s intellectual assets is a big part of our vision for significant and sustained economic growth.

Prominence & Prosperity
The University of Delaware’s science and technology campus will be critical to building the economy we want to build. But it’s just as critical to building a culture,a culture of creativity, collaboration, and risk—of innovation, entrepreneurship, and excellence.

This is a watershed moment. As UD continues its rapid research growth and brokers more partnerships enlarging our R&D capabilities, this science and technology campus will bring new research ideas from bench to bedside, from lab to marketplace, where they can provide significant benefit to the people of Delaware, and position the state for unprecedented prominence and prosperity.

For more information, visit UD's Newark Chrysler Site.