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SLU and Washington University Launch Joint Initiative to Grow Region’s Economy

by Nancy Solomon

Officials from Saint Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis celebrated the beginning of a new initiative that will harness their research and talent generation capabilities to accelerate innovation and growth through collaboration.

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SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., right, and Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton, Ph.D., cut the ribbon on their universities' new joint innovation center in Cortex. SLU Photo

Underscoring their shared commitment to the St. Louis region on Tuesday, May 21, officials from the two universities cut the ribbon on the COLLAB, in the heart of Cortex, the region’s largest innovation district. The COLLAB, which is the first dedicated academic space for either university in Cortex, is located in a 7,700-square-foot suite in Cortex’s 4220 Duncan building. 

SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., told the crowd that St. Louis is in the midst of a renaissance that includes $8 billion of investment in the region, rekindled community pride, and the success and collaboration of St. Louis’s major research universities -- Saint Louis University and Washington University.

“Here in St. Louis, people are coming to see what we’re doing and how we’re doing it,” Pestello said.

“When I arrived in St. Louis five years ago, it would have been hard for me to imagine the trajectory we’re on…There is a lot going on here and it goes on because we come together to make our region better.” 

Focused on economic development, innovation and education, the COLLAB will:

The COLLAB will also host collaborative courses as well as events that bring together academic, industry, civic and innovation leaders around topics of shared interest. Additionally, the COLLAB will support the growth of university-industry collaborations in areas of common regional interest, such as technology talent, geospatial research, data science and health informatics.

Saint Louis University’s Research Strategy and Innovation Group, which builds new research initiatives and facilitates partnerships with industry, entrepreneurs and investors, also will be located in the COLLAB.

Other tenants in the 4220 building include CIC@4220 business incubator, the planned Boeing/HorizonX innovation center, Microsoft, Accenture, Aon, BJC’s WellAware Center, Venture Café’s Innovation Hall and The Chocolate Pig restaurant.

Read about The Collab in the St. Louis Business Journal.