Research Park

Texas A&M University-Central Texas will host a summit Wednesday to discuss a potential research park on the campus as well as an innovation district. The research park is part of the 14 Forward initiative that is designed to bring economic development to Killeen.

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 U.S. to the Bill Yowell Conference Center to discuss the ongoing growth of the University Research Park and Innovation District.

“Our goal is to create a research park in partnership with local and regional experts with an interest in research and development, particularly in cybersecurity,” said Marc Nigliazzo, the university’s president.

A&M-Central Texas and 14 Forward staff have been working closely over the past three years in the pursuit of a Department of Defense grant to study research park options and the construction of on-campus research facilities.

Bill Kliewer, chair of the 14 Forward board of directors, agreed that the funding will help make possible the commercialization of university research to complement the Army’s modernization efforts in cyber security, simulation, and artificial intelligence.

A&M-Central Texas Vice President for Research and Economic Development Russ Porter echoed similar sentiments.

“The value of developing a research park on the A&M-Central Texas campus is tremendous,” he said. “It not only allows our faculty the opportunity to engage in meaningful scientific work, but it also provides a foundation for business and research partners within the region and beyond to collaborate with us to support their research initiatives, especially in defense, solar, cyber, and healthcare.”

Currently, A&M-Central Texas conducts research in those fields, but the research park would expand that role, Porter said in October 2020.

At that point, there were more than 50 faculty members providing research on research park-related projects.

The university is part of the Association of University Research Parks, which provides guidance for planning and implementation of the park.

As of October 2020, there were two potential locations for the research park on the campus property, Porter said. Those possible locations were revealed at an Aug. 28, 2019, meeting with the university, Killeen Chamber of Commerce and Killeen Economic Development Corporation officials.

At the meeting, Porter said the first proposed location is in the southeast corner of the campus near the intersection of Clear Creek Road and State Highway 195.

This location is preferred by the university, Porter said at the time, due to its easy access, gentle slope and high growth business exposure potential.

The other proposed location is on the northwest side of the campus.

Sponsored by Trideum Corporation, Geeks-N-Nerds, Centex Technologies, and Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, the event will feature panel discussions and a keynote address by Dr. Patrick Baker, executive director of the Army Research Laboratory.