More details released on Innovation Space incubator


The Delaware Innovation Space, Inc. – a nonprofit public-private partnership established by the State of Delaware, DuPont, and the University of Delaware – was formally announced on Monday.

The Council on Development Finance endorsed $5 million in state funding.

 The Delaware Innovation Space will be headquartered at the DuPont Experimental Station research campus near Wilmington. The nonprofit  will operate a business  incubator.

Each founding partner will contribute assets in support of the formation of the nonprofit, and two members to its  Board of Directors. 

DuPont CEO Edward Breen had earlier announced the company would invest $200 million in the complex, which is only partially occupied after staff reductions over the years, including the loss of 1,700 jobs at the Experimental Station and other sites last year.

$200 million investment by DuPont

“Delaware’s economy remains in transition, and we should do everything we can to support innovation, and partner with the private sector to drive business and job growth,” said  Gov. John Carney. “DuPont and the University of Delaware have long histories of innovation, and remain crucially important to the future of our economy and our state. This partnership will draw upon the resources of those institutions to help science-based businesses grow here in Delaware, and connect Delaware’s students to the work of our most talented innovators.”

DEDO has long been a supporter of resourceful incubator spaces that nurture the growth of startups so they can collaborate and develop,” stated  Acting DEDO Director Cerron Cade. “As a new center, DISI is additive to the local ecosystem and we’re excited to be a part of this collaborative effort to grow jobs and innovation in Delaware.”

Carper praises decision

“The Innovation Space at the Experimental Station shows that DuPont, the state and the University of Delaware are committed to creating a nurturing environment for business to grow and thrive,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “Delaware may be small, but we are nimble. We have all levels of government partnering with the private and non-profit sectors to find ways to make Delaware a more attractive place to do business. The Innovation Space is another example of a great idea that came from the power of partnerships.”

“This building will provide Delaware with what startups in our region need the most, high quality and market rate lab space,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “In the Senate, I have worked hard to give science-based early stage companies tools they need, but ultimately Delaware needs more lab space like this in order to help local companies grow and for us to attract other companies from outside of our state. I am thrilled to see this building come to fruition, and excited to see what technologies emerge from this site.”

“DuPont’s vision for the Experimental Station is to harness the power of collaboration to drive innovation,” said Doug Muzyka, DuPont senior vice president and chief science and technology officer. “The Delaware Innovation Space will accelerate new business growth and give entrepreneurs, scientific leaders, and businesses access to best-in-class talent, resources and the culture of the Experimental Station.”

“UD fosters a strong, productive and longstanding relationship with the State and DuPont that advances scientific inquiry, strengthens our economy and improves the lives of Delawareans,” said Dennis Assanis, University of Delaware president. “The Delaware Innovation Space represents a new and exciting chapter in that partnership, one that will benefit our community for many more decades ahead.” 

A focus on STEM

According to a state release,  “Delaware Innovation Space will focus on key Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) areas that align with strengths both DuPont and UD bring to the venture. They include industrial biotechnology, renewable energy, advanced materials, chemical ingredients, nutrition and healthcare to help strengthen Delaware’s presence as a leader in those areas.”

The center will provide education to entrepreneurs and startups, help accelerate the formation of new businesses, and connect Delaware’s students with the work of innovators and entrepreneurs., the release stated.

The Delaware Innovation Space will be located in a dedicated building (E500) at the Experimental Station.

Lab and office space

It will include approximately 100,000 square feet of innovative laboratory and office space comprised of a mix of large shared lab spaces and open office areas in addition to private laboratory and office suites.  Delaware Innovation clientele also will have access to other common spaces and  capabilities at the Experimental Station.

The start-up community has long claimed that the state does not have a sufficient of “wet lab” space that could draw start-ups.

Partner contributions are as follows:

State of Delaware:

  • $5 million in startup funding support over 3 years from the Delaware Strategic Fund
  • Key support from public stakeholders in attracting companies to Delaware


  • $1.25 million in startup funding
  • Modern laboratory and office building at the Experimental Station, valued at approximately $15 million today
  • Laboratory equipment valued at up to $2 million
  • Nonprofit set-up costs

University of Delaware:

  • $1.5 million in startup funding over three years
  • Student internships
  • On-site workshops and seminars led by UD faculty members
  • Grant writing support
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