JANUARY 22, 2020 — Focused on driving San Antonio’s knowledge economy, UTSA’s Office of the Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Knowledge Enterprise closed out the year with economic growth increasing, research activity on campus thriving and research expenditures for fiscal year 2019 reaching an all-time high.
Whether it’s conceptualizing housing on the moon, finding cybersecurity breaches in lightbulbs, bolstering water conservation methodologies, launching a program to work within the national intelligence community, or advancing cancer prevention on the border, UTSA faculty members and their teams are addressing societal challenges to improve the quality of life of all citizens. The UTSA research community received 385 new awards with funding supporting diverse research projects.
—TAYLOR EIGHMY, UTSA President
In FY 2019 total research expenditures increased to $80.6 million, restricted research expenditures grew to $50.8 million, and National Research University Fund expenditures were $44.1 million.
“To drive smart growth we are diversifying our portfolio by fostering large multipartner, multi-city/state research collaborations with national labs and industry partners to tackle transdisciplinary projects in numerous sectors, such as manufacturing and national security,” said Bernard Arulanandam, UTSA vice president for research, economic development and knowledge enterprise.
Once again, it was a year of strong performance from the Institute for Economic Development, which generated a total of $2.7 billion in direct economic impact in FY 2019. The institute also welcomed new leadership with the arrival of Rod McSherry as the associate vice president for innovation and economic development.
The institute served 38,067 existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses in FY 2019. Of those that received advising, training and business research assistance, over 1,100 businesses were started or experienced significant growth, resulting in the creation or retention of over 11,000 jobs. These generated over $299 million in new financing and $45 million in new tax revenue. New sales, contracts and exports were valued at $2.4 billion.
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The Office of Commercialization and Innovation had a new high of six start-ups sign their first UTSA license or option agreement into place with nine total agreements. In FY 2019 OCI managed 53 new technology disclosures, with 69 patents filed and a record 25 patents issued; eight companies were incubated. Three more UTSA teams were selected to participate in the National Science Foundation’s National I-Corps Program national cohort, bringing the total to 15 since 2015.
The Office of Research Support continued to expand its research support and faculty development activities. In FY 2019 ORS awarded 33 research grants totaling $495,000 to support research on campus. Prior-year programs have continued to yield success with a 293% return on investment for 2017 seed grant awards in which faculty secured an additional $3.1 million in follow-on funding. Currently, five UTSA institutional seed grants are open for application, and faculty members are encouraged to apply with over $700,000 in available funding in 2020.
Five UTSA faculty each received the NSF CAREER Award for a collective award of over $2.5 million. The 2019 CAREER award recipients are Bing Dong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Nikolaos Gatsis, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Alexis Godet, assistant professor of geology; Teja Guda, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; and Xiaoyin Wang, assistant professor of computer science.
UTSA’s impact on the future of data science was further solidified by the National Security Agency recognizing the institution as a premier “data science partner,” which aims to advance research and workforce development for the broader intelligence community. Working with the MITRE Corp., UTSA faculty have developed a pilot with lesson modules incorporating AI, big data analytics and data visualization for classrooms across campus. Codenamed Generation AI Nexus, or Gen AI, the project’s goal is to help all students, regardless of their major, understand AI and how to use it as an effective tool. Faculty have uploaded their lesson modules to a central repository where they can also browse and download lessons and data sets from other classes across the country.
UTSA’s National Security Collaboration Center continued its expansion by selecting retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Guy Walsh to be its founding executive director this past summer. With over 50 federal and state government, industry and academic partners, the NSCC secured over $1 million in support, sponsoring research and student training opportunities through partnerships with the CCDC Army Research Laboratory, CACI International, CNF Technologies, CyberTexas Foundation, IPSecure, MITRE, Noblis, NSA, Raytheon and Sandia National Laboratories. UTSA was also named as one of only 10 featured schools in the U.S. by the NSA, building upon a long-standing relationship that has placed more than 50 students in government service since 2005.
UTSA hosted its national laboratory research partners—Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories—for discussion of active, highly collaborative research initiatives. These laboratories are key partners in Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute, a consortium of 60 organizations from across the nation—academic, industry, nonprofit and the national lab system—which is leveraging cybersecurity to secure the digital supply chain in manufacturing. The team is developing sophisticated cybersecure technologies for implementation by small, medium and large manufacturers to raise the global competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector.
“The entire knowledge enterprise at UTSA is evolving. Faculty are finding new ways to address societal challenges through their scholarship, while our infrastructure is evolving to pave the way for faculty to pursue innovative research,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “UTSA’s increasing research expenditures demonstrate our commitment to building a great public research university for the citizens of San Antonio.”
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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.