Urban Innovation21 Transitions its Programs to Riverside Center for Innovation

New partnership between the organizations will provide additional opportunities for startup companies in Pittsburgh’s underserved communities

Pittsburgh, Pa. (August 8, 2018) – Urban Innovation21 (UI21), a unique public-private partnership that has supported the growth of entrepreneurship within Pittsburgh’s innovation economy for more than a decade, today announced that it is transitioning its inclusive innovation programs to Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI).

Since its inception more than 10 years ago, Urban Innovation21 has offered programming to support and help grow more than 150 startup companies that have established their operations within Pittsburgh’s underserved communities, including investing more than $10 million of tax credit and early-stage grant funding into these businesses and their communities.

Urban Innovation21’s inclusive innovation programs include education, mentoring, networking, and entrepreneurship support, as well as a paid internship program utilized by more than 800 students, including 40% African Americans and 60% women.

With this recent announcement, all Urban Innovation21 programs and staff will shift to Riverside Center for Innovation to expand the scope of an evolving partnership relationship that has existed between the two organizations since the inception of UI21. Because both organizations offer complementary programs and services within underserved communities, its leaders say that strengthening and integrating the relationships between the organizations will provide additional synergies and economies of scale.

Pittsburgh Athletic Association

The Benno Janssen designed Pittsburgh Athletic ASSOCIATION Building in Oakland was designated a historic landmark in 1978

The Benno Janssen designed Pittsburgh Athletic ASSOCIATION Building in Oakland was designated a historic landmark in 1978


New innovation anchor in the making: Pittsburgh Athletic Association Building in Oakland acquired 

Walnut Capital and Lionstone Investments plan 90,000 s.f. of premire office space, restaurant and dining option, and more

(PGH – 8/13/2018) The team behind Bakery Square is leading the restoration of the historic Pittsburgh Athletic Association clubhouse. Originally built in 1911, the five-story building is strategically located in the heart of Oakland, the knowledge hub of the Pittsburgh Innovation District. 

The building location provides a unique opportunity, in an exceptionally tight Oakland office market, for prospective innovation companies to establish a location directly adjacent to the world-class research assets at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and UPMC's hospitals and research campus.

“Walnut Capital is a strong believer in the economic transformation of Oakland as the epicenter of the new Pittsburgh economy,” stated Gregg Perelman, CEO of Walnut Capital. “The rejuvenated PAA building would be an ideal home for globally significant companies that want proximity to our prominent universities and medical institutions. Our goal will be to create something new within something known — a destination with an amazing past and brilliant future.”

In addition to the refurbished exterior, the building will feature nearly 90,000 square feet of new office space, a renovated lobby, restaurant and dining options, and a new fitness facility and club room reserved for the PAA. Work on the building will begin late this summer and is anticipated to take 18 to 24 months. 


Philips relocating regional HQ to Bakery Square

200,000 s.f., 1,250 employee Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care office adds new anchor to the Pittsburgh Innovation Distirct

(PGH – 6/28/2018) Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care Business (formerly Respironics) will consolidate two suburban offices into a new office at Bakery Square in Pittsburgh's East End. 

The company announced: "Philips has been actively seeking to strategically locate its associates in western Pennsylvania closer to universities, medical centers, research partners and other innovation leaders within the greater-Pittsburgh region, creating opportunity to leverage the energy and growth of the Pittsburgh Innovation District. Working in close proximity to these organizations will enable Philips to incubate partnerships and, ultimately, accelerate its ability to develop new solutions to drive the future of health technology."

Philips established a 14,000 s.f  innovation center in Oakland in 2017. The company also has a "wide-ranging collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh" focused on talent development, solving critical healthcare problems, and technology commercialization.


Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence establishes research lab in Pittsburgh

BCAI’s fourth location will conduct advanced research in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

(PGH – 6/26/2018) Bosch in North America today announced the launch of the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) Research Lab in Pittsburgh. The new location is the next step in BCAI’s mission to partner with leading institutions around the world to jointly accelerate AI research. Bosch plans to build a team of up to 20 AI experts at Bosch’s Pittsburgh Technology Center by the end of 2019.

BCAI was founded in early 2017 to deploy cutting-edge AI technologies across Bosch products and services. Using data from Bosch domains, BCAI creates differentiating technology by solving challenges in high-potential lead applications. It scales research results and generates value through deployment of machine learning in products, processes, and services in areas such as manufacturing, engineering, supply chain management and intelligent services. BCAI Pittsburgh is the most recent addition to BCAI’s locations around the globe – Renningen, Germany; Sunnyvale, California; and Bangalore, India.


UPMC and Pitt Launch Genome Center to Advance Precision Medicine and Immunotherapy

High-throughput, CLIA certified, industrial-scale sequencing center established in the heart of Pittsburgh’s technology hub

(PGH – 6/26/2018) The UPMC Genome Center, established with funding from the recently announced UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center (ITTC) and the Institute for Precision Medicine at UPMC and Pitt, will provide clinicians and researchers access to a large-scale genomics facility that has undergone rigorous validation testing and has obtained Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification required to conduct clinical research and diagnostics. The Genome Center is the largest and only CLIA-certified, high-throughput whole-genome sequencing center in Pennsylvania.

The center allows researchers and physicians to take advantage of rapid advances in genome sequencing, a process that reads the string of letters in DNA molecules that make up our genetic code.  These advances have led to new ways of diagnosing diseases and created the emerging field of precision medicine where treatments are tailored to each individual’s unique genetic makeup.

As part of a collaborative initiative to build and advance the Pittsburgh Innovation District, we’re excited that Thrival is hosting major events and programs next to our knowledge hubs — particularly in Oakland
— Sean Luther, InnovatePGH

Thrival 2018 Presents“LIFE.CODE”

Dates, New Location, and First Ticket Release Announced

(PGH – 5/8/2018) The annual Thrival Festival will take place this September 19-21. Building off of momentum created in 2017, Thrival will once again host its Humans X Tech programs in Pittsburgh’s East End and Oakland neighborhoods, while moving its live music and arts experience into the city limits for the first time since 2015. Ascender, a Pittsburgh-based economic development nonprofit, produces Thrival each year. 

“LIFE.CODE” is the theme of Thrival 2018, for both its Humans X Tech and Music X Arts platforms. Using Pittsburgh’s fast growing reputation in automated systems, advanced manufacturing, robotics, and life sciences, Thrival Festival will host a variety of programs, events, and experiences that explore the oft-cited “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” 

Carnegie Museum of Art will once again host Thrival’s Humans X Tech main event, LIFE.CODE Interactive Experience, in conjunction with its popular “Third Thursday” series. The festival added another location as a host site this year, based in Oakland, the home of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will host the festival’s LIFE.CODE Summit, featuring a day of panels, debates, and workshops. 

Thrival Music X Arts (formerly, "Thrival Music"), the festival's outdoor live music and arts experience will return inside of Pittsburgh city limits for the first time since 2015. This year, Music X Arts makes its home at Highmark Stadium, located on the riverfront directly across from downtown Pittsburgh.

Facebook Pittsburgh HQ, housed at the new schenleyPlace Complex in Oakland

Facebook Pittsburgh HQ, housed at the new schenleyPlace Complex in Oakland

It is the proximity to leading universities with talented faculty, and the existence of a local talent pool that attract us.
— Yann LeCun, Facebook Chief AI Scientist

Facebook AI Research Opening New Lab in Pittsburgh

New lab takes advantage of the Pittsburgh Innovation District's unparalleled artificial intelligence research assets

(San Fran – 5/4/2018) Facebook is opening a new artificial intelligence research lab in Pittsburgh. The Facebook AI Research facility will join existing labs in Menlo Park, New York, Paris, Montréal, and Tel Aviv; as well as a new lab announced in Seattle. 

GeekWire reports that two Carnegie Mellon professors, Abhinav Gupta and Jessica Hodgins,  will be a part of the Pittsburgh lab. Gupta specializes in computer vision. Hodgins focuses on computer graphics, animation and robotics, with an emphasis on analyzing human motion. Both will retain part-time positions with CMU as well.

The new AI Research lab adds to Facebooks already sizable Pittsburgh operation. Facebook announced it would open a Pittsburgh research center for the Oculus virtual reality platform in 2016 and has since moved into the Schenley Place development in Oakland. 

The LifeX initiative presents an innovative opportunity to expand the impact of Pittsburgh’s life sciences strengths by nurturing — here in the city’s naturally occurring innovation district — the life sciences ecosystem that will bring these innovations to the world.
— David K. Roger, President of the Hillman Family Foundations

LifeX™ Health Solutions Platform Opens Headquarters

Announces $2 million Henry L. Hillman Foundation grant

(PGH – 4/17/2018) LifeX™,  as part of Life Sciences Week 2018, celebrated the opening of its first headquarters, where it will provide expertise and working space to aid the growth of biotechnology companies.

Launched in December 2017, LifeX is a biotechnology commercialization platform that empowers scientist entrepreneurs to create and deliver new solutions to alleviate suffering and premature death across the globe. Founded by the University of Pittsburgh, LifeX’s initial cohort of companies will focus on unmet health needs related to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, obesity and diabetes and rare genetic diseases.

The facility at 2124 Penn Ave. in Pittsburgh’s Strip District includes office and laboratory space where biotechnology companies can collaborate. In addition to the physical space, the LifeX platform brings together experts with proven track records of building new pharmaceuticals, medical devices, molecular diagnostics and population-health solutions to support entrepreneurs with deep industry knowledge.
With the April 17 ribbon-cutting came the announcement of a $2 million grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation to advance startup operations, facilities and programming.


Idea Foundry Launches Equitable Entrepreneurship Program

Google.org Impact Challenge Pittsburgh winning program offers business development support and funding to communities that have historically been undeserved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem

(PGH – 2/22/2018) The Equitable Entrepreneurship program is an initiative from Idea Foundry supporting immigrant and minority entrepreneurs and small business owners in our region. The program seeks participants with an idea for a small business, an existing small business looking to scale, or an idea-stage innovation. Applicants are not limited to innovation-based businesses. Our program emphasizes region-wide opportunities not limited or focused on any one neighborhood.

A preliminary concept for 5000 Baum, as seen from the intersection of Morewood and Centre Avenues.

A preliminary concept for
5000 Baum, as seen from the intersection of Morewood and Centre Avenues.


Pitt, UPMC Announce $200 Million Immunotherapy Investment, Creation of Innovation Facility at 5000 Baum

The new UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center (ITTC) will be housed within an eight-story innovation hub, built in partnership with Wexford Science + Technology

(PGH – 2/13/2018) The University of Pittsburgh and UPMC are once again partnering to advance the pace of life-changing innovation in the region and beyond.

Backed by decades of pioneering research at Pitt, UPMC’s initial three-year, $200 Million funding commitment for ITTC seeks to dramatically accelerate the pace at which medical teams can utilize new research. This investment will help pinpoint the most promising advances in immunology that are capable of enhancing human health. The center’s work will initially focus on three major areas: transplantation, cancer, and aging and chronic diseases.

5000 Baum, built by Ford Motor Co. in 1915, is a 200,000-square-foot facility that functioned as part-assembly plant, part-showroom.The property represents Pitt’s largest development project to date aimed at strengthening the city’s innovation district. The renovation—which is projected to take more than two years—is expected to create thousands of local jobs.

If it’s not for all of us,
It’s not for us.
— Mayor Bill Peduto

Third Annual Inclusive Innovation Week Set for April 2-8, 2018

The City of Pittsburgh, URA and Inclusive Innovation Week partners invite all residents and visitors to attend events throughout the week

(PGH – 2/13/2018) Now in its third year, Inclusive Innovation Week (IIW) is a citywide initiative dedicated to providing equal access to the products, services and people needed to solve complex challenges through the infusion of new ideas, people, and technology. Led by the Department of Innovation & Performance, IIW programming is designed to increase awareness of opportunities across the city, encourages cross-sector collaboration and serves as an interactive demonstration of Mayor William Peduto’s commitment to making Pittsburgh a city for all.

Inclusive Innovation Week 2018 will activate neighborhoods with programming and engage businesses, organizations and individuals through larger campaigns and collaborative events. Many events and partnerships created through the Inclusive Innovation Pittsburgh Meetups. Learn more about the planning process and the work of the team on Medium.


New Oakland-based partnership focused on building Pittsburgh’s Innovation Economy

InnovatePGH will drive citywide growth in life sciences, automation and advanced manufacturing

(PGH – 2/6/2018) In a bold move positioning Pittsburgh as a global innovation hub, regional leaders today announced the formation of InnovatePGH, a public-private partnership conceived to accelerate Pittsburgh’s growth as a global destination for technology-based economic activity.

InnovatePGH was born from the 2017 Brookings Institution study: “Capturing the next economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city,” which was funded by the Heinz Endowments and the Hillman Foundation. Formed to implement key recommendations from the Brookings report, InnovatePGH will be situated in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, enabling it to draw upon the valuable resources of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, two of the nation’s top flight research institutions, and UPMC's substantial intellectual capital.


Murdoch Building Breaks Ground on Forbes Avenue

There’s a new structure about to go up in Oakland, but it’s not another medical center or fast food joint.

(From Next Pittsburgh – 1/31/2018)  "Today, workers will break ground on the Murdoch Building. This eight-story, 95,000-square-foot office and retail space is located at 3420 Forbes Avenue, on the corner of Forbes and Coltart avenues.

Slated to open in the third quarter of 2019, the planned building has only 35,000 square feet of office space currently remaining for rental. Two tenants have already locked in a large portion of the building: The University of Pittsburgh has leased the top four floors and CVS Pharmacy will occupy a portion of the ground-level retail area.


Amazon Announces Pittsburgh Makes the List

PGHQ2 Partnership Will Lead Regional Effort Moving Forward

(PGH – 1/18/2018) Amazon has announced today that the Pittsburgh region is on its list of 20 locations that will continue in the selection process. The Pittsburgh proposal, Future. Forged. For All., stood out as a top submission from the 238 proposals Amazon received through its RFP.

As the region continues in this process, PGHQ2 – the collaborative partnership developed to coordinate the efforts of all local jurisdictions, businesses, universities and foundations that have volunteered their support for the project – will serve as the Amazon welcome committee and the company’s dedicated partner, ensuring a soft landing and support for long-term success should Pittsburgh be selected as the location for Amazon’s HQ2.


Pitt Introduces LifeX™ to Develop New Solutions for Large Unmet Health Needs

Renowned entrepreneur Dietrich Stephan, PhD, to lead delivery of first-in-class products into the market in this collaboration between life sciences startups and private sector

(PGH – 12/11/2017) The University of Pittsburgh today announced the launch of LifeX™, an initiative that will provide expertise, capital and working space to new companies addressing the most complex challenges facing modern medicine.

The 10-year goal of the project is to deliver new solutions to tackle prevalent and intractable global diseases. Led by Dietrich Stephan, PhD, the renowned human geneticist and entrepreneur, the initiative’s initial focus will be on cancer, Alzheimer’s, multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, obesity and diabetes and rare genetic diseases.

Mercy Mockup.jpg

UPMC Announces $2B Investment to Build 3 Digitally Based Specialty Hospitals Backed by World-Leading Innovative, Translational Science

New patient-focused cancer, heart and transplant, vision and rehabilitation hospitals augment mental health, pediatric and women’s specialty care

(PGH – 11/3/2017) UPMC today announced a bold plan to transform patient care with three leading-edge, new specialty hospitals that will offer next-generation treatments in patient-focused, technology-enhanced settings unique to health care. Backed by a $2 billion investment from UPMC, the all-new UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital, UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital and UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital will add to UPMC’s complement of advanced specialty care at Magee-Womens Hospital, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Future of Manufacturing To Rise Within Abandoned Steel Mill

New home for advanced robotics manufacturing research and development will lead transformation of industry, new chapter in Pittsburgh renaissance

(PGH – 10/25/2017) Two major advanced manufacturing initiatives founded by Carnegie Mellon University will anchor the redevelopment of an iconic, abandoned steel mill in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood, signaling a new era in manufacturing for America and the world, and a new chapter in Pittsburgh's resurgence as a global innovation leader.

As part of an agreement between Carnegie Mellon and the nonprofit Regional Industrial Development Corporation, the university has agreed to a lease for two floors, or approximately two-thirds, of a new 94,000-square-foot building. The new building will be constructed entirely within the enormous skeleton of the historic steel mill known as Mill 19, located on the Hazelwood Green development site.


Cross-sector support needed to further Pittsburgh’s innovation economy

Brookings report offers recommendations for global competitiveness and local
inclusion for the Pittsburgh innovation district

(WAS – 9/13/2017) – Pittsburgh’s innovation economy is strong and growing, but city leaders can do more with its existing assets to compete globally and capitalize on the region’s growing innovation clusters, according to a new report from the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking at the Brookings Institution. 

The culmination of an 18-month study, “Capturing the Next Economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city” examines Pittsburgh's unique opportunity to become a top global destination for technology-based economic activity and as a key part of Pittsburgh’s efforts to become a world-class innovation city.