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University, city partnership lands $1.85 million grant

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
August 12, 2010

A partnership between Texas State University-San Marcos and the City of San Marcos has landed a $1.85 million award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) in support of the new Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) building.

The grant funds the construction of a state-of-the-art research and commercialization center at Texas State through the Office of Commercialization and Industrial Relations (OCIR).

“We are thrilled that an important technology partnership between the City of San Marcos and Texas State University will take a major step forward with the award of a significant federal grant,” said Mayor Susan Narvaiz. “This project will help us attract corporate research on alternative energy projects and establish San Marcos as a place for university graduates to find high tech careers.”

The new facility will serve as a technology accelerator for start-up and early-stage businesses, and will provide university and STAR tenants access to secure wet labs, clean rooms and office space. Green and bio-technology companies will be a major focus, and backers hope that San Marcos' convenient location between Austin and San Antonio will work to attract corporate research interest from those cities' technology communities.

"This building will house 'spin-offs' from research conducted and intellectual property generated by university faculty, and 'spin-ins' from companies outside the state that want to come in and strategically work with the university," said Terry Golding, executive director of the OCIR. "Our mission is education with relevance, and this is expanding our university's research profile, and adding depth and breadth to our educational and research programs.

"It will have clean room facilities for materials development, and there is a dire need of wet labs for small business start-ups in this region," Golding said. "We see convergent technologies -- the merging of semiconductor nanotechnology with biotechnology as a major opportunity for economic development in the state. Our location along the I-35 corridor is ideal for linking the large biotech/medical activities in San Antonio and the semiconductor community of Austin."

Interdisciplinary partnership will be a major selling point of the STAR facilities, incorporating expertise from the McCoy College of Business Administration and the Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization program at Texas State.

“The STAR project is a success story of collaboration among federal and local government, higher education, economic development and the private sector,” Mayor Narvaiz said. “These mutual investments will mean educational opportunity, environmental and technological advances, and 21st Century jobs for the future.”

Of the project's overall $6 million cost, Texas State has already committed $5 million. The university's share of the grant will go directly toward construction of wet lab and clean room facilities. The city's share will finance infrastructure improvements to the 40-acre site at Hunter Road and McCarty Lane.

"This is a very meaningful relationship between the university and the city for economic development in this region," said Golding. "We had great support from the San Marcos Partners for Progress and also people such as Pike Powers in Austin."

The EDA awarded the grant through the Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund, which is intended to foster the green economy by promoting economic competitiveness while enhancing environmental quality.