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Feds provide $1.5 million for new nanotechnology center

Eau Claire, Wis. - More than a year after Chippewa Valley Technical College pioneered a nanotechnology degree program, the Economic Development Administration has approved a $1.5 million grant to help build the college's new NanoRite Center for Innovation.

The grant will cover part of the cost of construction for the $5.5 million nanotechnology incubator, which could create an estimated 650 jobs and generate $30 million in private investment. It is the second grant awarded for the facility - in November, CVTC received a $500,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

The new center, which will be added to the college's existing Gateway Manufacturing and Technology Center, will be used to help develop new applications for nanoscience and train workers in the emerging field. Nanotechnology involves the study and design of systems using particles one nanometer, or one-billionth of a meter, wide.

Chippewa Valley Tech began offering a nanoscience degree in January 2005, teaming with UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout, and several other technical colleges.

When completed, the NanoRite Center will contain classrooms, offices, and a microfabrication laboratory that will promote the re-training of machine tool workers for the medical device industry. Construction is expected to begin this fall.

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