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Funding for Third Frontier Program in Jeopardy

photo of the audience
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
The audience at last summer’s Third Frontier Commission event where a dozen finalists were each awarded $200,000 in the Opioid Technology Challenge, which sought high-tech ideas for fighting the opioid crisis.";

The fund that the state has used to offer more than a billion dollars for high tech research and development projects since voters approved it in 2005 is running out of money. And there are no announced plans to shore up the Third Frontier program. 

Economic development organizations and business groups are advocating for the Third Frontier, which only has about $180 million left from its last bond issue. Alesha Washington at the Greater Cleveland Partnership says it’s time to look at it.

“Because the last administration did not prioritize it is something to potentially think about reauthorizing.”

Washington said the DeWine administration can always change the name.

“But I think the intent of that type of investment and building the innovative economy that fills in the gaps and where we missed out in the first year of this needs to be a focus.”

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the Third Frontier may not be able to sustain itself for much longer, but as head of the newly created InnovateOhio office, he hasn’t indicated what might replace it if it closes down.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.