Innovation in Action at Texas State
Sandy Pantlik | September 25, 2018
As Texas State continues to make progress on the path to reach national research university status, its research and degree programs – as well as its position in the Texas Innovation Corridor – are seen as drivers of innovation and creativity. The Texas Innovation Corridor, which stretches along I-35 from Austin to San Antonio, is home to rapid growth in industry, technology, research, and economic opportunity. Texas State’s research and academic programs, as well as its faculty and student start-ups, are a catalyst for the transformation of the region.
Below are highlights from some of the initiatives moving Texas State University ahead in the areas of science, technology, commercialization and innovation.
Translational Health Research Initiative
Texas State and its partners are applying research findings to address critical medical needs through the Translational Health Research Initiative. Currently, 225 faculty are engaged in health research and more than 80 degree programs include health-related instruction and research opportunities. The initiative has garnered considerable support from major federal sponsors, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Innovative research is underway, including projects that explore behavioral interventions for children with autism and the impact of nutrition on breast cancer survivors.
Entrepreneurial Boot Camps
Students in Texas State’s Materials Science, Engineering, and Commercialization (MSEC) Ph.D. program and computer science Ph.D. program complete two entrepreneurship boot camps where they learn how to start their own business. The MSEC Ph.D. program combines STEM research and entrepreneurship education to ensure students have the skills to make their innovative idea commercially viable. The programs have a successful track record: since 2014 they have launched five Ph.D. student-led companies that invented groundbreaking products.
Smart Civil Engineering and Infrastructure
The profession of civil engineering is rapidly changing. Smart technologies and sensors enable engineers to monitor infrastructure conditions. This produces data that can enhance the safety, value, and durability of our roadways, buildings and bridges. To address the impact of new technology in the workforce, next fall Texas State will launch a bachelor’s in civil engineering--pending final approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges-- that will be the first in Texas with a holistic emphasis on technology-enhanced infrastructure. Students will work with monitoring sensors, advanced communication systems, predictive analytics tools, and infrastructure management technologies.
In 2012, the university attained Emerging Research University status in the state of Texas, and in 2016 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching reclassified Texas State University under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions in the country under Carnegie’s respected classification system. In spring 2018, the Chronicle of Higher Education listed Texas State among the top 50 public institutions with the highest research and development spending on the humanities.
Texas State’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Park, three miles from the San Marcos campus, is a catalyst for research and commercialization activity. Since 2014, companies located in STAR Park have created more than 60 jobs and raised more than $32 million through equity and strategic alliance investments. Read more.
This fall, Texas State opened Ingram Hall, which houses the university’s College of Science and Engineering. Made possible by the generosity of Bruce and Gloria Ingram, the building is the largest, most ambitious academic construction project in Texas State history. With more than 166,000 square feet on five floors, Ingram Hall fills a full-square block and features advanced classroom and laboratory space, including a renewable energy research lab with solar panels and wind turbines.
Army Futures Command
The U.S. Army selected Austin as the location for its new Futures Command headquarters for numerous reasons, with available technical talent and its position within the Texas Innovation Corridor among the most important. Texas State partnered with other agencies and organizations through the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and its consortium of higher education institutions to showcase the region’s research and development, computer science and engineering strength. Texas State is engaged in research with major implications for military operations including high-impact polymers for ballistics protection, shape memory and self-healing systems. Read more.