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UTSA research expenditures at an all-time high for third year in a row

UTSA research expenditures at an all-time high for third year in a row

JANUARY 4, 2023 — The UTSA Office for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise (REDKE) announced its top-line results for FY 2022, with research expenditures once again achieving an institutional record high.

UTSA research expenditures for FY 2022 were $141.7 million, the third year in a row that expenditures surpassed $100 million. Faculty members and researchers received 396 research awards worth a total of $113 million, another record high.

“UTSA is an anchor for discovery and innovation in San Antonio. This year, we continued our momentum to expand discovery activities on and off campus and to nurture collaboration between faculty researchers and partners across the nation,” said Jaclyn Shaw, interim vice president for REDKE. “As we prepare for the grand opening of our San Pedro I building, which will house many research centers, labs and partnerships including the School of Data Science, National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC), Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), MATRIX AI Consortium for Human Wellbeing and Open Cloud Institute (OCI), we envision the creation of initiatives and programs that will grow the knowledge enterprise exponentially and give faculty, staff and students opportunities to diversify their research portfolio and scholarship.”

Research Enterprise

UTSA’s biggest research news in 2022 was the attainment of R1, or very high research activity, from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This designation, synonymous with academic and research excellence, places UTSA among the top 4% of research universities in the nation, amplifying its statewide and national exposure to attract, recruit and retain world-class faculty members and top students.

University and research leadership were founding members of the Alliance for Hispanic Serving Research Universities (HSRU), which gathers the nation’s 21 HSI-R1 institutions to work collaboratively across multiple targeted initiatives. Initially, Alliance members intend to enhance Hispanic student success by doubling the number of Hispanic doctoral students enrolled at their institutions and increasing the Hispanic professoriate at their universities by 20%.

Developing a new framework to foster and support a R1 research culture, REDKE launched Accelerate 2030, aligning UTSA’s strengths and outlining guiding pathways for targeted investment. This strategic framework supports UTSA’s destination as a great public research university and will integrate with the institution’s 10-year strategic plan refresh.

Emerging from the Accelerate 2030 framework, REDKE launched a new Strategic Research Development team, strengthening faculty and proposal development services for campus researchers. Nicole Beebe, the Melvin Lachman Chair in Entrepreneurship, was selected as the assistant vice president for Faculty Research Development, serving as a partner to UTSA Academic Affairs for faculty professional development programming.

Working with The UTSA Graduate School to expand postdoctoral support and strengthen the Ph.D. pipeline, REDKE provided additional research development programming to expand support of extramural funding for students, postdoctoral programming, ethics training and researcher onboarding events.

REDKE awarded its annual seed grants with a total of $240,000 distributed among 14 recipients. This money that will fund new research projects or new lines of inquiry to advance their research portfolios through the discovery process. The division also awarded $85,000 in research-related travel awards to 76 faculty members who collectively logged over 130,000 miles of travel. Moreover, UTSA launched a Rapid Call seed grant program with the City of San Antonio’s R&D League, awarding $120,000 for four research projects with UTSA faculty to address some of San Antonio’s pressing civic issues.

Three research centers and institutes welcomed new leadership this past year. Associate professor Sonya Aleman is leading the Women’s Studies Institute (WSI), professor Sharon Nichols is leading the Urban Education Institute and professor Fernando Riosmena is leading the Institute for Health Disparities Research (IHDR).

The Center for Applied Community & Policy Research (HCAP) was created, evolving from the UTSA Policy Studies Center and led by Michael Smith. The Brain Health Consortium integrated the missions of the UTSA Neurosciences Institute and Bank of America Child & Adolescent Policy Research Institute, with Charles Wilson, the Ewing Halsell Distinguished Chair in Biology, and associate professor Leslie Neely becoming associate directors under the leadership of director Jenny Hsieh, the Semmes Foundation Endowed Chair in Cell Biology.

The National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) worked closely with UTSA Business Affairs to complete San Pedro I, opening next week for industry and government co-location. In FY 2022, the NSCC hosted 24 Collaboration Days, connecting students, faculty and staff with industry, military and government organizations.

The Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), led by UTSA, established a satellite at Port San Antonio, where the Cybersecurity for Manufacturing (C4M) training and technology demonstration facility will launch in spring 2023. CyManII released a public roadmap to protect US manufacturers from cyber-attacks and hosted the first Cyber2Secure American Manufacturing Summit.

The UTSA Academy of Distinguished Researchers inducted AI thought leader Dhireesha Kudithipudi, UTSA’s Robert F. McDermott Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering and founding director of MATRIX: The AI Consortium for Human Well-Being. The Academy started processes to launch a Sigma Xi chapter at UTSA and will host its spring lecture series on March 2 with special guest Nicholas Peppas of UT-Austin.

Five new Research Interest Groups (RIGs) were formed in 2022 to provide a collaborative platform for UTSA researchers and the extended research community to work on emerging transdisciplinary challenges in academia. The new groups build on the success of three inaugural RIGs launched over a year ago and align with the institution’s key cluster hiring programs alongside collaborating organizations such as UT Health San Antonio, the City of San Antonio, Morgan’s Wonderland, USAA and Southwest Research Institute.

Commercialization and Innovation

UTSA has focused on growing and diversifying its innovation ecosystem. In FY22, the UTSA Office of Commercialization and Innovation (OCI) completed 35 new invention disclosures and filed 39 patents. The office also optioned two licenses and two technologies.

Highlights of companies developing UTSA technologies in FY22 included: 

  • EmergenceMed, which received notice that it has been awarded a direct to Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Phase II award from AFWERX for $1.25 million.

  • Ridgeline Therapeutics, which received a nearly $4 million U44 award from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging to accelerate development of its muscle regeneration drugs. Ridgeline’s non-dilutive funding in the past 24 months has now topped $10 million.

  • Leaptran, which received a SBIR Phase I award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture for $125,000.

  • Osteogene Tech Corp, which received FDA clearance for a UTSA-linked bone graft product called InRoad®.

The Venture Mentor Service San Antonio chapter, which advises and supports local start-ups, continued to grow with an additional five companies participating. UTSA's New Venture Incubator added three companies.

UTSA announced that it had been awarded a new National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) award of $1 million. The university is a member of the NSF I-Corps Hub, which is helping to scale the NSF-led National Innovation Network that accelerates the translation of discoveries into new solutions that benefit society in the region. OCI continued to offer workshops for the I-Corps accelerator program throughout the year for UTSA stakeholders.

Explore the services offered by the UTSA Institute of Economic Development.

UTSA Institute for Economic Development 

With a mission to build prosperity by supporting communities, small businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs in San Antonio and South and West Texas, the Institute for Economic Development (IED) continues to offer a brighter future for Texas small businesses and their communities, generating $2.3 billion in direct economic impact in FY 2022.

Through its 10 centers, the IED assisted 39,031 aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small businesses, resulting in the creation and retention of 10,237 jobs. It also trained 25,731 participants in 1,410 training workshops. The institute also generated access to over $252 million in capital and generated over $2 billion in new sales, contracts and exports in FY 2022.

The IED hosted many conferences in 2022 including the University Economic Development Association annual summit, where attendees exchanged new ideas and learning on regional partnerships for economic growth, and the 12th annual Texas Rural Challenge, focused on supporting and growing resilient rural communities across the state.

On the West Side of San Antonio, the IED’s SBDC advised 121 neighborhood businesses, helping to create and retain 139 jobs, expand seven local businesses and assist firms in acquiring almost $14.5 million in capital infusion. This work is performed through the UTSA Westside Community Center, established in 2019.

“The Institute for Economic Development is a catalyzing force for growing the San Antonio and South and West Texas economy,” said Rod McSherry, UTSA associate vice president for Innovation and Economic Development. “In 2022, our service to small and minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs coming out of the pandemic and creating new enterprises meant more and better opportunities for our clients and their families, as well as for the community overall.”

Sarah Hada

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

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.