Economic growth is driven by the creation of new technologies, new company formation, the expansion of existing businesses, and job creation. Economic growth doesn’t just happen. It requires vision, investment and courage.
In 2002, the South Carolina General Assembly had the vision to establish the SmartState Program, funding it with proceeds from the South Carolina Education Lottery. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions—Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina—to use state lottery funds to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy.
In just 10 years, the SmartState Program has attracted more than $1.5 billion in non-state investment, has led to the creation of more than 10,000 jobs, and has assembled a who’s who of corporate partners, including BMW, Fluor, Michelin and SCANA.
Today there are nearly 55 SmartState Centers in six industry-focused Smart Clusters that are critical to the world and South Carolina: Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology, Automotive and Transportation, Biomedical, Energy and ALternative Fuels, Information Science, and Pharmaceutical. Each Center is awarded from $2 million to $5 million in state lottery funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state funds from corporations or other entities.
The program also supports SmartState Endowed Chairs, world-renowned scientists and engineers who lead the Centers. By investing in talent and technology, the SmartState Program is fueling the state's knowledge economy and creating high-paying jobs and an improved standard of living in South Carolina.