DuPont investing $200M in Delware research center

The existing DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delware will soon be renting out their newly redeveloped research space.

During remarks at a Delaware state chamber of commerce meeting, CEO Edward Breen told the room that “Our board of directors just approved a plan to spend $200 million to modernize and upgrade Experimental Station. We’re going to optimize many of our labs, we’re going to set up networked collaboration for our scientists, for our customers.”

Breen elaborated that the upgrade would help allow third-party companies to come in.

“They are going to have to be science-based companies. I’m hoping that there are some with contiguous things that DuPont is interested in. But we really want to use it as an incubation center,” he said.

DuPont’s Experimental Station has a remarkable history of innovation. Opened in 1903, the space was started to help transition DuPont from producing gunpowder and explosives to more chemicals. The research center became the birthplace of some of chemistry’s most notable achievements including Nylon, Kevlar, Mylar polyester and Neoprene — the first synthetic rubber.

The entire center includes more than 50 buildings on 250,000 square meters of space.

Typically around 2,000 scientists now work at the center. But after the $130-billion Dow-DuPont merger was announced in December 2015, the company laid off around 200 scientists at Experimental Station. The layoffs were part of a workforce reduction in Delaware that totaled 1,700 positions.

Some critics have argued that the proposed merger with Dow could be the “death of innovation” but DuPont has announced that it plans to spend $1.7 billion on R&D this year — up from $1.6 billion in 2016.

Several other companies already use space at Experimental Station including Chemours, a DuPont spinoff, and Hygenia, a life sciences company.


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