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Timelines: 1958

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Inside the triangle

Civic leaders in North Carolina establish the independent, non-profit Research Triangle Institute (RTI) in late 1958.  The North Carolina Research Triangle is the geographic area in the central Piedmont region of the state marked by vertices at North Carolina State University in the city of Raleigh, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Duke University in Durham.  The purpose of RTI is to improve the economic health of the region and stem losses of homegrown talent and skill by generating technological innovations and opportunities to create new businesses and industries.  When ground is broken for the Research Triangle Institute, local and state government officials simultaneously draw up plans for the construction of Research Triangle Park (RTP), an unincorporated, industrially-zoned tract intended to house entrepreneurial spin-off ventures.  RTI eventually sponsors research projects in biomedicine, agriculture, electronics, energy, mechanical, aeronautical, and chemical engineering, and materials science, as well as studies in statistics, economics and public policy.  In 1972, the Institute is renamed RTI International.  Today, it employs nearly 3,000 people and provides technical services to businesses and governments in more than forty countries.  Research Triangle Park has grown to encompass 7000 acres.  It features more than 170 companies that employ 42,000 full-time employees.

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