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Forge University Research Park and Innovation District Summit Brings Leaders Together at TAMUCT

By Bernadette A. Serna
January 13, 2023

Forge University Research Park and Innovation District Summit Brings Leaders Together at TAMUCT

Community and business leaders gathered at Texas A&M University–Central Texas for the third annual Forge University Research Park and Innovation District Summit Wednesday, Jan. 11.

Attendees heard from A&M–Central Texas leadership, president and CEO of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce Scott Connell, principal at architect and urban design firm Perkins&WIll Stephen Coulston, and keynote Dr. Saurabh Biswas, executive director for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.

There was no shortage of vision or excitement for the proposed research park on campus. Participants discussed opportunities, partnerships, and accomplishments the community has made thus far.

A&M–Central Texas President Dr. Marc Nigliazzo specifically recognized great milestones the university has achieved while growing its research efforts.

“For a small developing institution our progressfrom 2010 to 2022, has been dramatic. Starting with zero research dollars in external funding we have averaged more than a million dollars per year with the greatest increase in the last five years,” Nigliazzo said.

The growth will only continue, which makes a case for a blended-knowledge, research community on campus.

During the summit Perkins&Will guided attendees through their recently completed comprehensive planning study for Forge at A&M–Central Texas, acknowledging the campus’ natural systems, and demographic and economic framework.

Coulston explained the importance of “bumpability” at a campus research park, as well as insight to their strategy for a sustainable community.

“Bumpability” is described in Perkins&Will’s comprehensive study as the “purposeful design of spaces and places to support ‘accidental’ interactions,” reinforcing the concept of a blended knowledge community.

Coulson noted that A&M-Central Texas is unique in that they are the only university in the country that shares “a major, continuous border” with a military installation. The university also has a strong system partner with the Texas A&M system’s RELLIS research center, and access to a distinct talent pool with servicemembers exiting the military and the university’s graduates.

“The opportunity is really all about bringing these pieces and parts together in a really intentional way,” Coulson said. More information about plans for Forge@ A&M-Central Texas visit https://www.tamuct.edu/research/forge/.

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