The initiative, to be called, Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), will feature top students, faculty, professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world to solve key technology and design challenges. GIX will be located in the city’s Spring District, a major commercial and residential neighborhood now under construction by developer Wright-Runstad in the Bel-Red area. In 2023, light rail will provide a direct link between the the University of Washington and Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond.
“Bellevue is an ideal location for the Global Innovation Exchange, and we welcome the UW with open arms,” said Mayor Claudia Balducci. “Microsoft is already our largest employer, and we are thrilled with the company’s latest commitment to the community – a reflection of our own commitment to forward-looking economic development. We believe the presence of GIX will enhance Bellevue and the Eastside as a center for technology, entrepreneurism and international business.”
Present at the project’s unveiling in Bellevue were Gov. Jay Inslee, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Interim University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce, and Qui Yong, president of Tsinghua University in China. CEO Nadella said that Microsoft will provide $40 million in “foundational funding” for the project and told the gathering that the company is “deeply committed” to GIX.
GIX will launch a program, based on a 15-month master’s degree in technology innovation, to support the growth in connected devices in the fall of 2016. 3,000 students are anticipated to be studying at the project-based environment, within the first ten years. Location of GIX in Bellevue satisfies a City Council initiative to develop an educational institution to attract local and international talent.