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UTSA ends fiscal year 2021 with research expenditures at an all-time high

UTSA ends fiscal year 2021 with research expenditures at an all-time high

DECEMBER 9, 2021 — Focused on driving San Antonio’s knowledge economy, the UTSA Office for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise (REDKE) today announced its top-line results for the FY21 year end, with research expenditures achieving a record high.

Research expenditures for FY21 were $140.0 million, the second year in a row that expenditures surpassed $100 million. Faculty members received 376 research awards worth a total of $168 million, with the largest award being a $12.5 million award from the National Institutes of Health for brain research, by a cross disciplinary team led by Brian Hermann. Due to the pandemic, UTSA also received one-time Cares Act funding which added $102 million to the overall research awards for a total of $270 million.

“UTSA’s mission is to accelerate transdisciplinary research and economic development on campus and in the numerous communities we support,” said Dr. Bernard Arulanandam, vice president of REDKE. “To facilitate sustainable growth in the knowledge enterprise, we streamlined operations and data collection, and we expanded our transdisciplinary research programs and transformative collaborations with the best-in-class in government, industry and academia.”

Research Enterprise

To spark innovation, REDKE awarded $555,000 to 32 faculty members from its annual seed grant programs for new research projects. The Transdisciplinary Teams Program awarded jointly by REDKE and the UTSA Division of Academic Affairs, supported five cross-discipline and cross-college research teams. The Brain Health Consortium Collaborative Seed Grant program, launched in collaboration with the UTSA Brain Health Consortium, made its debut this year by funding two research projects.

The UTSA Academy of Distinguished Researchers inducted its largest cohort since its inception. Joining the academy are David Akopian (electrical and computer engineering), Bridget Drinka (English), Krystel Castillo (mechanical engineering), Aimin Liu (chemistry) and Rogelio Sáenz (demography).

REDKE launched three focused research interest groups to provide a forum for UTSA researchers from across disciplines and the extended research community to work collaboratively on innovative energy in emerging transdisciplinary fields. They include Social and Environmental Challenges in Latin America, Quantum Computation and Information, and Human Performance.

Partnering with University Technology Solutions, UTSA received a significant technology grant via special discounts from Dell Technologies to advance a new research infrastructure platform on campus. The grant enabled the university to invest in a hybrid cloud approach to help deliver research in data science and cybersecurity.

UTSA joined the prestigious, Washington, D.C.-based Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR), an elite forum within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Its membership includes the nation’s foremost science and technology leaders.

Two new research centers and institutes were created at UTSA, increasing the number to 33. The Women's Studies Institute is housed in the College of Education and Human Development and the Policy Studies Center resides in the College for Health, Community and Policy.

Four research centers and institutes welcomed new leadership this past year: Adel Alaeddini is leading the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems; Kiran Bhaganagar is leading the Center for Advanced Measurement in Extreme Environments; Elias Bou-Harb is leading the Cyber Center for Security and Analytics; and Jeff Prevost is leading the Open Cloud Institute.

Additionally, the MATRIX AI Consortium, led by Dhireesha Kudithipudi, hosted a joint symposium focused on the current and future state of artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing with BigBear.ai, and the Maryland Innovation & Security Institute (MISI) in the Washington, D.C. area.

REDKE facilitated research agreements with the City of San Antonio R&D League and Velocity TX. Another strategic agreement with MITRE expanded its workforce development initiative with internships for undergraduate and graduate students as well as curriculum development for the Generation AI Consortium and the Data Science Bootcamp.

The National Security Collaboration Center at UTSA finalized an $18 million federal research contract with Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to accelerate research and development in strategic areas beneficial to both organizations.

Commercialization and Innovation

In FY21, the UTSA Office of Commercialization and Innovation managed 25 new technology disclosures, 47 patent filings and 24 patents issued. UTSA technologies newly licensed or optioned in FY21 included an implantable drug delivery system for pain management, an emergency medical suction device for obstructed airways, and antigens potentially useful for diagnosis and immunization against Valley fever infection. The Venture Mentor Service San Antonio (VMS-SA) continued to grow and at the end of FY21 had nine companies participating.

UTSA Institute for Economic Development

The UTSA Institute for Economic Development (IED) continued its support of the small business community, generating $3.0 billion in direct economic impact in fiscal year 2021 benefiting small businesses in San Antonio and Southwest Texas.

Through its 10 programs, the IED assisted 40,693 aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small businesses. These efforts created and retained 10,995 jobs, trained 26,020 participants in 1,355 training workshops and generated over $500 million in new financing. The institute also generated over $2.5 billion in new sales, contracts and exports in FY21.

From the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 through September 2021, the UTSA South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network pivoted to serve over 28,000 small business clients, aiding attendees with disaster-related assistance, including guidance with accessing over $110 million in SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loans and other COVID-19 related loans and grant funding.

“The Institute for Economic Development continues to be an integral part of the San Antonio and Southwest Texas community, and we continue our work to provide opportunity and training as part of the UTSA mission to create a prosperous and thriving economy,” said Rod McSherry, UTSA associate vice president for Innovation and Economic Development.

Locally, the institute’s SBDC supported the UTSA Westside Community Center. It advised 91 neighborhood businesses, helping create 89 jobs, retain 755 jobs and expand five West Side businesses. At the same time, the IED provided almost $1 million in COVID-19 disaster financial support and grants to businesses in San Antonio’s West Side.

“UTSA’s knowledge enterprise continues on its upward trajectory. The ever-increasing research expenditures reflect the innovative research of our faculty to address societal challenges, and combined with the economic advancement given by the Institute of Economic Development to our local and regional communities, illustrate how UTSA is evolving into a great public research institution,” concluded Dr. Arulanandam.

Sarah Hada

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UTSA’s Mission

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.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

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 promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.