On Wednesday, Texas A&M University-Central Texas and the Fort Hood Regional Economic Development Corporation (14 Forward) will welcome more than 85 industry and community leaders from across the United States to the Bill Yowell Conference Center to discuss growth in course of the University Research Park and Innovation District.
“Our goal is to create a research park in collaboration with local and regional experts with an interest in research and development, especially in cybersecurity,” said Marc Nigliazzo, president of the university.
A&M-Central Texas and 14 Forward staff have been working closely for the past three years on seeking a Department of Defense grant to study research park options and building research facilities on campus.
Bill Kliewer, chairman of the board of 14 Forward, agreed that the funding would help make the commercialization of university research possible to complement the army’s modernization efforts in cybersecurity, simulation, and artificial intelligence.
A&M-Central Texas Vice President of Economic Research and Development, Russ Porter, echoed similar sentiments.
“The value of developing a research park on the A&M-Central campus in Texas is enormous,” he said. “Not only does it give our professors the opportunity to do meaningful scientific work, but it also provides a basis for business and research partners in the region and beyond to collaborate with us to support their research initiatives, especially in defense, solar, cyber, and health. “
A&M-Central Texas is currently conducting research in these fields, but the research park would expand that role, Porter said in October 2020.
At that time, there were more than 50 professors researching projects related to the research park.
The university is part of the Association of University Research Parks, which provides guidance for park planning and implementation.
As of October 2020, there were two potential locations for the research park on campus property, Porter said. These possible locations were revealed at a meeting on August 28, 2019 with the university, the Killeen Chamber of Commerce and officials from the Killeen Economic Development Corporation.
At the meeting, Porter said the first proposed location is at the southeast corner of campus, near the intersection of Clear Creek Road and State Highway 195.
This location is preferred by the university, Porter said at the time, for its easy access, gentle slope and high business exposure potential.
The other proposed location is on the northwest side of campus.
Sponsored by Trideum Corporation, Geeks-N-Nerds, Centex Technologies and Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, the event will feature roundtables and a keynote speech by Dr. Patrick Baker, executive director of the Army Research Laboratory.