WICHITA, KS (Sept. 24, 2009) – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will help diversify the South Central Kansas economy by providing $2.1 million to the newly created National Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research, or CIBOR. The grant will help build a composite prototyping lab that will use aviation technology to develop and manufacture medical devices.
"Knight Foundation recognizes the center’s potential to transform the regional economy by building on our strengths - composite manufacturing - to create new opportunities for workers and businesses," said Anne Corriston, Knight Foundation’s Wichita program director. "We Kansans have so much going for us already, including our status as the second largest composite manufacturing cluster in the United States, our long history in aviation manufacturing and with the opportunities that will be provided by the new National Center for Aviation Training. It just made sense to make this investment in our future."
The grant builds on Knight's previous investments in Wichita to train the local workforce and fortify the economy. They include $2 million to the Boys and Girls Club to create a program that combines youth development with workforce development to introduce middle and high school students to career opportunities in aviation and health care. A $2 million grant to the Wichita State University Foundation is now expanding the implementation of "Project Lead the Way," a science, technology, engineering and math curriculum with the long-range goal of strengthening the local workforce.
Knight Foundation's investment is the second major grant for CIBOR, which is a partnership of Via Christi Regional Medical Center and Wichita State University. Incorporated earlier this year, CIBOR received a major grant from the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA), which recognized it as a noteworthy Center of Innovation.
"The Kansas Bioscience Authority’s grant was enormously important in getting the work started by providing funding for the research scientists and lab equipment," said Paul Wooley, PhD, Chief Operating Officer of CIBOR.
Knight Foundation's grant, he said, will create the laboratory to transform medical devices like stretchers, braces, surgical tables and gurneys by making them stronger and lighter using composites. In seven to 10 years, the center hopes to patent new knee and hip replacements made from composites.
“Our vision is twofold: an improved quality of life for orthopedic patients, and new career opportunities for local workers," Wooley said.
About the John S. and James L Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote community engagement and lead to transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
Read more about Knight Foundation's investments in Wichita at: www.knightfoundation.org/wichita.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.