Research Triangle Park (RTP) is the leading and largest high technology research and science park in North America. Founded in 1959, this 7,000-acre namesake for the entire Triangle region is two miles wide and eight miles long. Research Triangle Park is based in Durham with an extension now spilling into Wake County toward Cary and Morrisville.
Just four miles from Downtown Durham and encompassed on three sides by the City of Durham, RTP was originally named for its affiliation with three major research universities: Duke University in Durham, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State Universityin Raleigh. This part of Durham is approximately equidistant between Raleigh and Chapel Hill.
Originally envisioned by UNC's Howard W. Odum and fostered by the administration of Durham native Governor William Umstead, the park was developed by the Research Triangle Foundation in 1959 and now includes over 170 companies, 39,000 full-time employees, and 10,000 contract workers.
The three original universities are joined by Durham's North Carolina Central University (located less than two miles from RTP), playing a major role as home to the Biomanufacturing Research Institute & Technology Enterprise (BRITE) Center for Excellence.
Today, RTP is surrounded by a variety of other Durham business and corporate parks populated by pharmaceutical, microelectronic, biotechnology, telecommunications, and textile businesses, to name a few. Research Triangle Park is not a city, but it has a special Durham postal substation - Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. It exists in a special county district, serviced by Durham utilities.