The Origins Of The Research Triangle Park, NC

Traveling with Alice
Drone photo taken of the Elion-Hitchings Building on 11/29/2020Getharding, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Spread over 7,000 acres in the heart of North Carolina, The Research Triangle Park is a research park created in 1959 by leading North Carolina businessmen, industrialists, and academicians.

Successfully overcoming its initial hurdles, the Park now recruits some of the world's top talents in various fields, including information technology, biotechnology, telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals. It is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the East.

Worried about the imminent brain drain resulting from graduates leaving North Carolina for better job prospects, many Triangle-area professionals formed the concept of a research park that would promote the development of new industries and boost cooperation among research organizations.

The idea found favor with many prominent citizens, including entrepreneur Romeo Guest and Howard Odum, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina.

They went all out to promote their idea, and in 1957, investor Karl Robbins agreed to fund the purchase of the land required for the research park. By the end of 1957, they acquired 3,559 acres, and in January 1959, the Research Triangle Institute was established. Construction of its headquarters began soon after, and RTI became the Park's first tenant.
Panoramic photograph of the main NIEHS building in Research Triangle Park, NC. NIH Image Gallery from Bethesda, Maryland, USA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1965, two giant corporations, the National Institute of Environment Health Science and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) set up huge facilities at the park. Many others soon followed them.

Today, over 300 organizations from diverse industries and work-place to over 55,000 full-time professionals and 10,000 contractors have established facilities within The Research Triangle Park.

What started off as an innovative concept turned out to be a reality and a stupendously successful one at that. Today world-class research and development organizations from various fields, including telecommunications, information technology, and pharmaceuticals, have huge investments and facilities in the Research Triangle Park.

They provide employment not only for North Carolinas graduates but also for graduates from all over the world, completely transforming the state's economic profile.
Research Triangle Park headquarters.Ildar Sagdejev (Specious), CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikime

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