NREC Has Transformational Economic Impact New Report Finds Center Has Helped Advance Its Neighborhood, Region and Industry

Gera JochumWednesday, December 8, 2021

NREC, whose high bay area is shown above, has dramatically transformed the Pittsburgh region, its economy and the robotics industry, according to a new CMU report.

The National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) — an innovative model for academic-industry collaboration founded 25 years ago to catalyze robotics research, development and commercialization — has dramatically transformed the Pittsburgh region, its economy and the robotics industry, says a report released by Carnegie Mellon University.

"The impact of Carnegie Mellon's NREC has been game-changing, not just for igniting a thriving technology industry in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania but also for revolutionizing robotics and catalyzing its impact across the globe," said CMU President Farnam Jahanian. "As NREC marks its first 25 years and plans for the future, the report's findings reinforce what insiders have always known: NREC's innovations have transformed entire industries and are helping to solve some of humanity's greatest challenges."

CMU collaborated with NASA, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Pittsburgh, local foundations and other partners to create NREC. The center began with an initial investment of less than $10 million and has raised more than $500 million in total direct funding to date — a remarkable 50 times the original investment.

The report finds that NREC was a key driving force in the emergence of Pittsburgh's "Robotics Row," which includes over 80 companies focused on robotics, artificial intelligence and related technologies stretching along the Allegheny River from NREC's base in Lawrenceville to the Strip District. Many of these companies have ties to NREC, with a significant number founded or created by the center's alumni. Those NREC-affiliated companies today are valued at more than $18 billion.

Read more about NREC's impact on Pittsburgh and the robotics industry and download a copy of the report "Robots in the Backyard: How the National Robotics Engineering Center Changed a Neighborhood, a Region and an Industry" on the CMU News site.

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