Bellevue’s 5G Open Innovation Zone is newest addition to Washington Innovation Partnership Zones; six others reauthorized

Public-private partnerships focus on connecting research, industry, workforce to spur collaboration, innovation, economic development in target industry clusters

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today designated a new Innovation Partnership Zone  (IPZ) focused on 5G mobile technology, and reauthorized six other IPZs designed to spur regional economic growth in key industry sectors, including manufacturing, global health and technology.

The 5G Open Innovation Lab, sponsored by the city of Bellevue, envisions a global hub for development of next generation 5G mobile networks and technology. Partners in the new IPZ are the University of Washington, 5G Open Innovation Lab and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories.

“The new 5G Innovation Partnership Zone showcases public-private collaboration at its best,” said Dr. Lisa Brown, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “Each of Washington’s IPZs is a unique success story of research, industry and local leadership creating vibrant ecosystems for growth.”

“The 5G Innovation Partnership Zone in Washington exists as a focal point for global 5G ecosystem development, and engages the breadth of Seattle’s community stakeholders from technology, business, academia and the public sector,” said Professor Sumit Roy, Integrated Systems professor at the University of Washington. “5G networks have the ability to capture information from the environment through sensors and process and transform it into actionable information. The ability to communicate across devices and platforms seamlessly and at very low latency will enable us to connect people and things anywhere, share experiences and intelligence and synthesize new knowledge. We are working to seed the future workforce that will be needed by enterprises, startups and the public sector as 5G-enabled products and services become pervasive.”

“Bellevue and the Eastside [of Seattle] have been at the forefront of the telecommunications industry for decades, partnering with wireless pioneers to build the foundation for our high-quality technology ecosystem,” said Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak. “That innovative spirit and collaboration continue as we work to accelerate 5G development and keep our region at the center of the industry. Bellevue has embraced 5G, and having the new Innovation Partnership Zone in our backyard is an exciting development.”

“Next generation wireless networks (5G) are poised to unleash significantly new network capabilities that have yet to be fully understood by developers, startups, consumers and enterprises,” said Jim Brisimitzis, general partner of the 5G Open Innovation Lab. “The 5G Open Innovation Lab is a community of innovators, partnerships, and academic researchers focused on using this future platform to solve important problems, create new markets, and to become the launch pad of research-backed innovation. Our homegrown advantages make this region compelling, given our deep roots in telecommunications, hyperscale cloud computing and dominant innovation in aviation, transportation, retail, health care, manufacturing and others. Today’s IPZ designation is an important step toward bringing together our private and public partnerships and laying an important foundation for what’s ahead.”

“5G-based communications systems have the ability to create a world that’s safer, cleaner, more prosperous and more secure,” said Lee Cheatham, director of technology deployment and outreach at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. “An Open Innovation 5G environment, such as the one created by the new IPZ, will help move 5G technologies into the marketplace and will have economic impact in both Washington state and the United States as a whole. PNNL looks forward to collaborating with the people and companies that will come together under the new IPZ.”

IPZs are designated for four-year terms.  The following partnerships were reauthorized:

  • Urban Center for Innovation Partnerships, Auburn
  • Bothell Biomedical Device IPZ, Bothell
  • Sports Medicine Innovation Partnership Zone, Issaquah
  • Thurston Craft Brewing and Distilling IPZ, Thurston County
  • Tri-Cities Research District, Port of Benton
  • Aerospace Convergence Zone, Snohomish County

The Innovation Partnership Zones program was created in 2007 to stimulate development of industry clusters and build regional economies.  IPZs empower regions to create formal alliances among researchers, private business, local economic development leaders and workforce organizations to collaborate and develop commercially viable technologies. To learn more about Innovation Partnership Zones, visit

Media Contact: Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

Local Contacts:

Auburn – Urban Center for Innovative Partnerships, (2011).  Doug Lein, (253) 804-3101

Bellevue – 5G Open Innovation Zone, (2019). Jesse Canedo, city of Bellevue, (425) 452-5236

Bothell – Bothell Biomedical Device IPZ, (2007). Jeanie Ashe, (425) 806-6149

Issaquah – Sports Medicine Innovation Partnership Zone, (2015). Jen Davis-Hayes, city of Issaquah, (425) 837-3414

Snohomish – Aerospace Convergence Zone, (2007). Matt Smith, Economic Alliance Snohomish County, (425) 248-4219

Tri Cities – Tri Cities Research District, (2007) Diahann Howard , Port of  Benton, (509) 375-3060

Thurston – Thurston Craft Brewing and Distilling Innovation Partnership Zone, (2015). Michael Cade, Thurston Economic Development Council, (360) 754-6320


Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106

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