Five research areas have been identified as Kentucky’s best opportunity to build centers of research excellence around which competitive
technology-based clusters can grow and thrive.
1) Human Health and Development
Kentucky researchers are making significant contributions in basic translational and clinical research in human health and disease. The
Cabinet is committing funds to this area to improve the health of Kentuckians while growing Kentucky's economy through the development of new
drugs, therapies, and medical devices. The Human Health and Development priority area represents three primary industries:
Technologies evolving from this area include the following:
The new, emerging fields of biotechnology, bioengineering, bioinformatics, and computational biology represent some of the fastest-growing
industries in Kentucky. Biosciences extend beyond technologies with direct human health applications. In agriculture, veterinary medicine,
and chemical processing, scientists harness, manipulate, and amplify powerful properties of living organisms and their products to serve
specific and valuable purposes. Kentucky is uniquely positioned to make major scientific advancements in the following bioscience areas:
Plant and Animal Biosciences
3) Information Technology and Communications
IT technology platforms are being applied in Kentucky to both traditional and emerging industries to enhance productivity, provide new
value-added services, and manage risk. Since managing information is a fundamental tool in all areas of research, production, and distribution
of goods and services, information technology is classified as an essential, or enabling, technology. The development and application of IT
products and services not only build traditional software and IT-based industries, but also help grow segments of financial, healthcare,
logistics, energy, and manufacturing industries. In support of this technology area, digital and broadband infrastructure is a critical
foundation for ensuring that businesses can maximize their IT investment.
4) Environmental and Energy Technologies
Energy production remains a critical industry to the Kentucky economy. If Kentucky is to continue to benefit from its natural resources, it must
develop technologies that will reduce the environmental impact without increasing the cost of energy extraction, production, and usage.
Technologies in this sector involve clean coal, coal to liquid, and coal to gas, extending the use of Kentucky’s coal resources. Also included
are renewable energy resources such as wind and solar energy, and biomass and corn for alternative fuels production. The technology platforms
associated with environmental management and remediation can also be applied to an array of industries outside of energy, leveraging state
investments made within this field.
5) Materials Science and Advanced Manufacturing
Manufacturing remains an important industry to Kentucky. Manufacturing in the new economy is characterized by high levels of automation, rapid
prototyping, lean production methods, and low-impact, “green” manufacturing and processing technologies. Kentucky’s high-tech economy uses new
advanced materials with enhanced properties to make better products and decrease production costs. Newly developed, advanced materials are used
throughout manufacturing sectors, in electronic and photonic applications, fuel cell power, synthetic fuels, biomedical devices and diagnostic
applications, chemical processing, and as industrial catalysts.