News Column

Evonik Corp. to Open Global Innovation Center in Birmingham

May 30, 2014



MONTGOMERY, Ala., May 30 -- The Alabama Department of Commerce (formerly the Alabama Development Office) issued the following news:

Evonik Corp. said today it will open a global Innovation Center for research and development of medical devices and technology at the company's Birmingham facility.

The multimillion-dollar project will create up to 25 high-paying jobs, adding to Evonik's current roster of 100 local employees. Housed at Evonik's campus off Lakeshore Parkway, it is Evonik's first innovation center in the United States devoted to medical devices and technology, expanding the German-based company's health care capabilities.

"Alabama ranks fifth in the nation for medical technology job creation," said Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, who attended a press conference today at the Evonik facility. "Evonik Corp. will expand its footprint in Birmingham to now include research and development of medical devices and technology, and create 25 new jobs. I appreciate Evonik's commitment to Alabama and look forward to a continued partnership."

Evonik's medical devices Innovation Center will expand the company's local core competencies in medical technology and biomaterial research. The center will focus on current and future customer needs for its specialty chemicals and sustained drug delivery systems (biomaterials and polymers) and develop new system solutions for medical technology.

Evonik chose Birmingham because of the company's existing presence, the experience base in the region, strong educational institutions nearby and a business friendly atmosphere.

"Evonik is known globally for its innovative prowess. Great innovation drives profitable growth. Last year, Evonik spent $540 million on research and development to offer innovative products. We are very excited to be part of what we see as a new innovation and technology sector in the Greater Birmingham region," said Sanjay Gupta, Evonik vice president and regional head, corporate innovation strategy and management.

INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM

Alabama is an emerging regional leader in creating medical technology jobs. According to U.S. Cluster Mapping, developed and maintained by Harvard School of Business, between 2008 and 2010 nearly 1,600 new medical technology jobs were created in seven Southeastern states - more than half were created in Alabama, ranking the state fifth nationally for medical technology job creation.

"The Evonik Innovation Center project in Birmingham demonstrates the depth and sophistication of medical technology research taking place in Alabama," said Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield. "Alabama is a state that offers companies skilled workers, a business-friendly environment and a support system that can make them successful. But Alabama also offers the kind of talent needed to make research and development bear fruit for companies like Evonik."

Having Evonik's first U.S. R&D center focused on medical devices and technology in the Birmingham region can be a game-changer for the community, said Steven Ceulemans, vice president of innovation and technology for the Birmingham Business Alliance. It provides a strong example for the BBA and its regional allies to build on and illustrate a global industry leader linking its innovation strategy to the Birmingham community.

Coupled with a strong innovation ecosystem and superior quality of life throughout the region, Evonik's new Innovation Center could help attract future R&D investment and jobs to the area.

"Birmingham's vibrant innovation ecosystem is well suited to support Evonik's goals in medical technology," Ceulemans said. "With local innovation centers such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Southern Research Institute and Innovation Depot, the resources and human capital are easily accessible, continuously propelling the region's reputation in medical technology."

Germany-based Evonik is a world leader in specialty chemicals and its activities focus on key megatrends such as health, nutrition, resource efficiency, and globalization. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. It operates a plant in Mobile that produces hydrogen peroxide and other chemicals.

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