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Northeast Ohio pushing hard to be global center of flexible electronics

Northeast Ohio is already a leader in flexible electronics. Now, a number of partners are working to make it the "global epicenter" of the industry.

The goal? To add 1,500 jobs, $75 million in payroll and $100 million in capital to Northeast Ohio by 2017.

Last week, NorTech -- a regional nonprofit economic development organization focused on high tech job growth -- announced a shared vision and action plan to speed growth of the industry in northeast Ohio.

The Northeast Ohio Flexible Electronics Roadmap outlines strategies and initiatives to build global market capabilities in the low-cost manufacturing of flexible electronics -- devices printed on flexible materials. Examples include liquid crystal devices and flexible sensors and circuits.

The Northeast Ohio Flexible Electronics Roadmap charts a path for identifying and pursuing market opportunities; increasing public funding and private investment; strengthening cluster alignment, communication, and partnering; monitoring and reporting cluster growth and impact; and improving visibility and recognition.

"Northeast Ohio's flexible electronics cluster is rooted in the world-renown, breakthrough work of The Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University, the globally recognized advances in polymer science by the University of Akron, as well as a growing number of small, medium and large companies that are producing flexible electronics applications," says Kelly South, NorTech's senior director of communications.

Nortech led development of the roadmapping process in partnership with 23 technology and industry experts representing research institutions, manufacturers, materials suppliers and product developers. The strategies will be executed over the next 12 months, South says, but added that the document will "serve as a living document that will capture technology shifts, changes in market dynamics and new growth opportunities in Northeast Ohio."

NorTech and other partners have branded the northeast Ohio flexible electronics cluster as FlexMatters.

Source: Kelly South, NorTech
Writer: Gene Monteith

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