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UC San Diego

April 22, 2015

Perhaps nothing encapsulates San Diego’s mix of innovation and lifestyle more than the surfboard pictured below. Let us explain…

Although it looks like any other surfboard, it’s actually made from algae, instead of petroleum-based polyurethane which is typically found in surfboards. We have Stephen Mayfield, a scientist from UC San Diego and director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, to thank for that. Like quite a few San Diegans, he can call himself both a scientist and a surfer.

Mayfield is featured in “National Geographic Channel’s: World’s Smart Cities” documentary about San Diego, which premiered last night at San Diego Symphony Hall.  Following the documentary, Mayfield presented the world’s first algae-based surfboard to Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Surfing legend and San Diego local Rob Machado, who also appeared in the documentary, was on hand to help present the surfboard. In the documentary, Mayfield talks about industry/academic collaborations that are helping to make biofuels from algae a commercially viable transportation fuel in the future. 

The documentary follows San Diego’s innovation narrative as National Geographic host and Digital Nomad Andrew Evans gets his genome sequenced at Illumina, performs stem cell surgery on a penguin at SeaWorld, flies UAVS at Northrop Grumman, learns about the Smart Grid at SDG&E, checks out the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™,  part engineering lab and part art studio – all while enjoying the sites, culture and lifestyle that San Diego is known for.

Last night, Andrew Evans made the trek back to San Diego to join Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Tourism Authority’s Joe Terzi, EDC’s Mark Cafferty and a packed house of San Diegans to show people why San Diego is the only city in North America chosen for the documentary.

"San Diego is a neat city. There's no place like it in the world," said Evans at the premiere.  

The documentary will be shown in more than 60 countries, reaching approximately 250 million households world-wide.  Make sure to tune in (or record) the documentary, which begins airing this Saturday, on the National Geographic Channel.

Spread the word. It’s time the world learns what San Diego is really about.



Follow the conversation at #Smartcities.

November 14, 2014

GlobalCitiesInitiative

As part of San Diego Regional EDC’s work to increase the region’s global competitiveness, a delegation of San Diegans will head to Munich, Germany next week to explore innovation strategies to strengthen advanced manufacturing. Representing a mix of academia, industry, and business organizations, the delegation will tour some of Munich’s most innovative companies, including BMW and Siemens, and meet with German leaders including the Honorable Dieter Reiter, Mayor of Munich.

Germany – where manufacturing represents nearly twice the share of employment as in the United States – offers an illustrative model for industry growth and workforce development. Its manufacturing firms rely on a robust dual model of vocational education and on-the-job training to sustain a highly-trained workforce and powerful public-private collaborations to support continuous innovation.

San Diego – much like Munich – has the talent, innovation and vision to compete and lead in the global marketplace,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC, one of the delegates on the trip. “Both San Diego and Munich have harnessed the power of public/private collaboration to fuel economic growth. Our trip to Munich will help us advance our local innovation economy.

Cafferty will be joined by Monique Rodriguez, director of government affairs, Qualcomm, Inc.; Ian Wendlandt, chief of staff, Stone Brewing Company; and Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor for public programs and dean of extension at UC San Diego.

In addition to stops at BMW and Siemens, the agenda also includes tours at small and medium-sized manufacturers. Delegates will also engage in panel discussions centered around manufacturing and innovation featuring the Hon. John Emerson, U.S. Ambassador to Germany and Bruce Katz, co-director of the Global Cities Initiative among others. Representatives from Chicago, Louisville-Lexington, Nashville, Phoenix and Portland will also be joining the trip.

The City of Munich plays an important role in San Diego’s global competitiveness. Munich is the region’s sixth largest source of foreign investment; companies with Munich-based operations employ 1,222 people in San Diego. From an industry standpoint, Munich and San Diego excel in cleantech, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, information and communication technologies and other innovative fields.

The trip is part of San Diego’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint effort between the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase that aims to help cities and metropolitans enhance their global competitiveness. San Diego joined GCI in 2012.

JPMorgan Chase has a longstanding commitment to helping cities thrive,” said Peter Kaldes, head of the Global Cities Initiative at JPMorgan Chase, who will be joining the trip. “We are thrilled to bring together U.S. and German city leaders who we hope will forge new economic bonds and, in the process, help their cities grow.”

In April 2014, as part of the GCI, San Diego was one of six U.S. cities selected to participate in a pilot program to develop a foreign direct investment (FDI) plan. A jobs generator, foreign-owned companies employ nearly 50,000 workers in San Diego, paying above average U.S. wages.                                                                                

In early 2015, the GCI will convene in San Diego to launch a comprehensive global trade and investment plan. 

April 15, 2014

Jacobs School Research EXPO UCSD

Capital can be a pain point for many entrepreneurs. Despite the odds, many San Diego companies have found funding. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree report, San Diego companies were involved in 23 venture capital deals and received more than $145 million in funding in Q4 of 2013. However, for a variety of reasons, overall venture capital invested in San Diego still took a dip between 2012 and 2013.

A group of alumni of the University of California, San Diego may help change that. They have created a venture capital fund—the Triton Technology Fund—that is specifically focused on commercializing innovations by UC San Diego faculty, students and alumni. (Read the Xconomy story here.)

The Triton Technology Fund will invest in companies affiliated with UC San Diego faculty, students and alumni with innovations in the software, communications, electronics, materials, medical devices and instruments sectors. The goal is to leverage breakthroughs in these areas to provide solutions for business-to-business enterprises.

“Commercializing university research requires external expertise and investment. The Triton Technology Fund is going to accelerate the success of our innovators by injecting crucial resources into our entrepreneurism and commercialization initiatives here at the Jacobs School of Engineering and across all of UC San Diego and its alumni networks,” said Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering in a statement announcing the fund.

The university is a breeding ground for ideas and innovation. To date, UC San Diego faculty and alumni have been credited with forming more than 500 startup companies. Some of these innovations can be seen in action this Thursday when the Jacobs School of Engineering hosts its annual Research Expo event. UC San Diego engineering graduate students will present their latest research at the 200-strong poster session at Research Expo on Thursday April 17 from 2:00 to 4:30 pm on the UC San Diego campus. (You can scan poster titles or search by industry application area online.)

The Jacobs School of Engineering’s Research Expo, now in its 33rd year, also includes ten-minute faculty tech talks covering regenerative medicine, big data, video processing for medical applications, robotics education, wearable sensors, and aerospace safety. Registration is available onsite.

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December 31, 2013
The story of the San Diego region is one of collaboration. This means when events take an unexpected turn, we can lean on one another to move the region forward. We have companies - that many would perceive as competitors - working together to secure San Diego’s cyber infrastructure. We have public/private collaborations working to increase the region’s global footprint. We have everyone from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies looking to invest in the region. And we have a strong group of universities that are working together to produce one of the most talented workforces in the nation.
 
 “Good News” is all around us. For the second year in a row, we've compiled a list of some of the greatest moments of the year. As 2013 draws to an end, let’s reflect on the remarkable accomplishments across our entire mega-region, and raise a toast (preferably a San Diego craft beer) to another year of positive headlines.
 
With unwavering appreciation,
Team EDC
 

 

Convention Center expansion is green lighted
In October, a coalition of local union members, business leaders and elected officials showed up at the California Coastal Commission hearing to advocate for a the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. When the Coastal Commission voted unanimously to move forward with the expansion, they were not only voting for a larger facility with more waterfront access, but also to bring an additional $698 million in economic impact and 6,685 jobs in the region. The expansion of the Convention Center means we can make way for many of the mega-conventions, such as Comic-con, that had their San Diego presence threatened by lack of capacity

 

Unmanned Center of Excellence adds 300 jobs to economy
San Diego has emerged as an Unmanned Systems hub. Recognizing the talent and opportunities present in the region, Defense innovator Northrop Grumman designated San Diego its Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence. The designation meant 300 more jobs at the company's Rancho Bernardo location.

 

 

San Diego Central Library completed 
A great city needs a great library. With the completion of the San Diego Central Library, San Diego residents now have a library they are proud of. The new East Village location boasts local art installations, an expanded career center, a charter school, and more workspace, in in a visually stunning iconic building.

 

 

 


We live in the most inventive region in the U.S. 
Although we've tried not to focus on rankings, this is one we simply can't ignore. In July, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development released its ranking of the world's most inventive cities. Second on the list - right behind Eindoven, Netherlands - was San Diego. The city claims 8.9 patents for every 10,000 residents, thanks to companies such as Qualcomm. 

 

 

 

Cross Border terminal makes Mega-Region more accessible 
As the U.S. and Mexican governments launch a new initiative to build stronger business ties across the border, they are looking at San Diego's Cali Baja Bi-national Mega-Region as a model for finding ways that industry clusters in both countries can work together. Many examples show the strength of the mega-region, but it's the new cross border terminal that has grabbed headlines recently. Border infrastructure has been improving, and the new cross border terminal will allow travelers from San Diego and Tijuana to hop on flights out of the neighboring cities. 

 

 

San Diego Airport's Green Build takes off
Improvements at the airport have finally landed. The San Diego International Airport's Green Build expansion culminated in August ahead of schedule and under budget. The stunning new new terminal features 10 new gates, pet-friendly amenities, extensive public art displays and is infused with local dining favorites so travelers can get a taste of San Diego while they wait. 

 

 

 

Pivot to the Pacific sends resources to San Diego
The United States defense strategy has deemed that a Pivot to the Pacific, aligning defense resources with the Pacific Rim, is a crucial foreign policy strategy. Because of San Diego's location and existing military footprint, this meant the region was well-positioned, despite sequestration, to gain valuable resources. The USS Reagan and its 2,500 person crew returned to San Diego after a year in maintenance. The USS Vinson, and its 6,000 plus crew, also returned to its port in San Diego. According the SDMAC Military Economic Impact Study, the two aircraft carriers home ported here will each add about $500 million to the economy.

 

 

 

Kickstarter backed films puts San Diego on Hollywood's radar
San Diego may never be Hollywood (we're fine with owning technology and innovation), but a few features have put the region on the map. The year started with 'Inocente', a story about a homeless San Diego teen, becoming the first Kickstarter backed movie to win an Oscar. Fans turned to Kickstarter again to fund a film version of 'Veronica Mars,' a series that chronicles the life of a teenage San Diego detective. The trailer premiered at Comic-con in July. Although San Diego's favorite fictional news team may not have been backed by Kickstarter, with the release of Anchorman 2, the phrase "Stay Classy, San Diego" worked its way back into lexicon this year.

 

 

 

Intellect leads innovation economy
San Diego's top tier universities are essential for priming a talented workforce that helps push the economy forward. When President Obama announced his BRAIN initiative in April, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. was invited to Washington. Given its strong cognitive sciences program, the university - which raked in more than $1 billion in research funding this past year - will be one of the academic institutions leading the charge. Cal State San Marcos welcomed its biggest class and held true to its 'vet' friendly reputation.  San Diego State University found itself among the nation's highest ranked universities in terms of affordability and ROI, which may be one of the reasons it recently announced a record number of applicants for 2014. Point Loma Nazarene has been identified as one of the best value private colleges in the U.S. University of San Diego's part time MBA programs broke the Top 20 on BusinessWeek's list. Online education pioneer Ashford University partnered with Forbes to create cutting-edge materials for its Forbes School of Business. National University, a leader in policy research, has partnered with EDC and other regional organizations on studies to quantify the sports and active lifestyle and cybersecurity clusters. 

Construction on desalination project begins

Construction on the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere began in early 2013. The construction of the plant will provide more than 2,300 jobs and will sustain 575 jobs when it is completed in 2016. Not only does the Carlsbad facility employ ground-breaking local technologies, but it also promises to transform about 50 million gallons of seawater into drinking water each day, which will meet 7 to 10 percent of San Diego’s water needs.

 

 

 

Brookings lays framework for global competitiveness strategy
Last fall, San Diego was selected as one of eight U.S. cities to participate in the Brookings Metropolitan Exchange Initiative, a project that helps regions implement customized export plans. In May, a collaborative made up of representatives from the Port of San Diego, San Diego Regional Airport Authority, UC San Diego, JP Morgan Chase and others came together to release a market assessment, the first phase in delivering a plan. Since then, working groups have been addressing infrastructure, talent, small and medium-sized enterprises, and market diversity to come up with a plan to boost the region's exports. The collaborative will release the final export plan - which will help with the region's overall global competitiveness strategy - in early 2014.

Craft Beer powers regional economy
Look out Munich, we're nipping at your heels. The San Diego region, which is home to more than 70 craft breweries, is commanding a growing percent of the nation's craft beer production. The region embraced its craft beer culture, with places like the Airport integrating beer into in the region's identity. From Men's Journal to The New York Times, people worldwide are also catching wind of breweries such as Stone, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss. This year, the industry hosted its first "SD Craft Beer Hospitality and Tourism Summit" to talk about how San Diego can propel its image as a premier craft beer destination forward. 

 

 

May 13, 2013

“It’s clear to us we are a global city,” said City of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner as he kicked off a press conference and town hall on May 13. Its focus was the need for the San Diego region to increase export activity in order to grow jobs and economic prosperity. It may be clear to San Diego, but it might not be clear to the rest of the world. He's out to change that perception and at the same time create more of the middle class jobs that were once the backbone of the San Diego economy. "We have not fulfilled our potential," he said, adding that we have the political will to change.

Each speaker commented on the findings of a market assessment that was the catalyst for the gathering. The market assessment is the first key step in the Brookings Metropolitan Export Initiative, a program focused on helping eight regions create collaborations from the ground up to design and implement customized metropolitan export plans.

City of San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey pointed out that San Diego has lots of advantages other areas don’t have, such as our technology sectors.

Michael Masserman, from the U.S. International Trade Administration came to offer his agency’s support which includes opening markets for exports and entering into trade agreements to facilitate exports. “Jobs in export-oriented companies pay 15 – 20 percent higher wages that their non-exporting counterparts,” said Masserman.

Elliott Hirshman, president of San Diego State University, discussed the importance of international engagement in educating the workforce of the future citing a substantial increase in international programs at San Diego State.

Peter Cowhey, dean of the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at UC San Diego, presented highlights from the market assessment. Cowhey, along with two of his graduate students, was responsible for conducting the survey and collecting the data for the market assessment. “San Diego is punching well below our weight,” said Cowhey, pointing out that although San Diego is the country’s 17th largest metropolitan economy, we rank only 55th when examining exports as a share of our regional economic output.

The market assessment revealed that San Diego’s exporters see a need for infrastructure development in three major areas: port, airport and cyber infrastructure.

Bob Nelson, vice chair of the board of port commissioners, agreed that if the region is going to see growth in exports then we need to see growth in infrastructure. The Port has in the works infrastructure improvements worth close to $100 million.

Robert Gleason, board chair of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, said that San Diego International Airport has a critical role to play in increasing export activity. That includes additional international non-stop service and increasing cargo capacity. An added benefit of more international visitors (which are also considered exports) is that they typically spend almost double what a domestic visitor spends on a trip.

Steven Weathers, president and CEO of World Trade Center San Diego, an organization that provides direct services to exporting companies, said that many people ask him, “What’s the big goal?” His answer? “Job creation – sustainable, diverse, job creation.”

photo left to right: Mayor Bob Filner, City Councilman Mark Kersey, Michael Masserman, Peter Cowhey, Bob Nelson, Robert Gleason, Elliot Hirshman, Steven Weathers

Access the full report: San Diego Metropolitan Export Initiative Market Assessment

Media coverage 

Region needs to boost exporting, report saysU-T San Diego
Local leaders push boosting trade, The Daily Transcript  
San Diego could be exporting more, Brookings Institution reports, KPBS