Global Innovation Exchange to Change Seattle Tech Research Landscape

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Silicon Valley may soon enough get some competition with the ground breaking of the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) building in Bellevue on Sept. 27. Leading research universities, the University of Washington (UW) and Beijing’s Tsinghua University, are partnering to create an institute dedicated to educating the next generation of innovators.

With $40 million in backing from Microsoft and other Seattle-area companies, the GIX building is scheduled to open next year and will host 70 students — including the nine students currently studying in at Tsinghua University. This partnership marks the first time a Chinese research university will have a physical presence in the U.S.

The 100,000-square-foot GIX building will feature design studios, a larger makerspace, electronics prototyping labs and spaces for collaboration and presentations, according to GeekWire. Both UW and Tsinghua professors will teach at GIX, where students will have the option to earn a 15-month UW Master of Science in technology innovation or the 21-month GIX dual master’s degree.

Classes will offer a new wave of technology education in which students will be trained in entrepreneurship, innovation and user interfaces. GIX will also connect students and faculty with research-led companies and nonprofits to better prepare students for solving today’s global challenges, including everything from sustainable development to mobile health solutions.

GIX plans to expand on its initial programs to add more degrees and certificate programs over the next decade. An estimated 3,000 learners will be a part of GIX by 2025, according to a statement made last year initially announcing the project. The program is already taking applications for its fall 2017 semester.