Hampton Roads: Resilience Testbed for Innovation

RISE is located in Norfolk, part of Virginia’s Hampton Roads region of 1.7 million people. Situated at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, one of the most valuable estuary systems in the world, for four centuries the region has served as the naval gateway to the Nation’s capital. Home to the largest concentration of U.S. defense facilities in the world, including world’s largest naval base, and to the Port of Virginia, the third largest commercial port on the East Coast, the region is a hub for trade for the eastern third of the nation and a security nexus for the world.

Like other coastal regions, Hampton Roads faces impacts of rising seas and more extreme weather events. The region has the highest rate of relative sea level rise along the U.S. east coast due to a combination of rising water and significant land subsidence. Because the region is experiencing the impacts of climate change more rapidly than other coastal communities, the region has an opportunity to act as a laboratory for a resilient response to coastal challenges.

RISE acts as a broker between regional assets and innovators to test resilient solutions in the region’s living laboratory.

Regional assets that are part of the resilience testbed include:

  • Municipal governments in the region offer opportunities to test ideas in city-owned spaces and provide accelerated access to city staff experts, datasets, and permitting to help companies innovate.
  • The Port of Virginia, one of the largest deep water ports on the East Coast.
  • Military installations including Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base complex in the world, Fort Eustis, Langley Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Oceana and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allied Command Transformation HQ. These organizations face many of the same resilience challenges as the community.
  • Universities including, Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University (ODU), Tidewater Community College System, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and the William and Mary, support innovative resilience approaches by providing access to research, subject matter experts and other assets.
  • Research organizations including NASA Langley Research Center, and The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory. These organizations serve as a resource to the living laboratory’s efforts.
  • Entrepreneurial organizations including 757 Accelerate, 757 Seed, 757 Angels, ODU Innovation Center, and ICAP among others. These assets provide entrepreneurs with customized resources they need to grow.