The Johnson County Education Research Triangle (JCERT) was created in November 2008 when residents invested in the county's future by voting for a one-eighth cent sales tax. The proceeds from this tax, first assessed in April 2009, generate more than $15 million a year to fund higher education and degree offerings through a unique partnership between Johnson County, the University of Kansas and Kansas State University.
The initiative includes the development of the Business, Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Building and new degree programs at KU's Edwards Campus in Overland Park; the International Animal Health and Food Safety Institute at K-State's Innovation Campus in Olathe; and research at the KU Cancer Center and the KU Alzheimer's Disease Center at The University of Kansas Clinical Research Center at Fairway.
These new facilities and JCERT-funded programs create economic stimulus and a higher quality of life by enhancing the economic future of Johnson County, the state of Kansas and the Midwest. In its first 10 years, JCERT generated an economic impact of more than $1.4 billion and attracted millions of dollars in private and public donations and research grants.
The KU Edwards Campus offers more than 35 JCERT-funded academic degrees and programs. It awards more than $150,000 in JCERT scholarships annually to students enrolled in JCERT-supported classes. The Business, Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) Building, built with JCERT funding, houses 21 classrooms, a computer lab, exercise lab, a 350-seat business conference center and 35 faculty offices.
K-State Olathe is a business-centric campus providing undergraduate degree completion programs in animal health and biosciences, health and wellness, business and leadership, food systems and supply chain. Its research and development (R&D) facilities provide opportunities for research into food science, animal health, data analytics, aquaponics, consumer and sensory research.
The KU Clinical Research Center is home to the KU Cancer Center, where clinical trials are designed to identify safer, more effective approaches to cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment. JCERT’s ongoing funding was an important contributor to the KU Cancer Center’s National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center designation in July 2022. The CRC also houses the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center, one of only 33 centers nationally designated by the National Institute on Aging.