Texas State is preparing to open its incubator for technology startups this fall.
The Science, Technology and Advanced Research building, or STAR Park, is spearheaded by the university’s office of commercialization and industry relations. The park will introduce the availability of wet labs, clean rooms and office space for companies looking to develop ideas and pursue patents.
The first STAR Park building, called STAR One, is being built on a 38-acre site at Hunter Road and McCarty Lane. Amy Madison, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, said STAR Park will serve as a centralized zone for the development of ideas and intellectual property.
Madison said STAR Park aims to attract corporate researchers from the Austin and San Antonio areas, which are lacking wet lab space to conduct research. A wet lab requires specialized piping and ventilation specifically designed to be used with potentially unstable chemicals or matter.
The 20,000-square-foot STAR One space will be filled with spin-offs, which are outside companies seeking to work with the university. The companies selected to fill the STAR Park will be dependent upon the strengths of the university, Madison said.
“Most of the space for wet labs is very sought after, and there’s very little available, so that makes our park very attractive to companies that are pursuing commercialization of their ideas,” Madison said.
STAR Park is the culmination of years of research and acquiring funds and collaboration, Madison said. Research parks across the nation and globe were studied before selecting the model that is set to open this fall.
Reddy Venumbaka, director of commercialization and industrial relations at Texas State, said STAR Park aims to involve researchers, students and professors working alongside companies to develop and expand on ideas from both within the university and outside companies.
“We don’t want to be like a leasing company. We’re more like partners working together,” Venumbaka said.
STAR Park will play to the university’s strengths by working in the areas of materials science.
Venumbaka said the $7 million center will be beneficial to the city and Texas State, and will help establish the university and the state as a center for high technology.
“It will stimulate collaborative research projects between local companies and university faculty,” Venumbaka said. “It will also provide opportunities for student research and employment.”
He said STAR Park will attract new and existing companies to San Marcos. It will stimulate the formation of new high technology businesses in the state and economic development in San Marcos, Hays County and Texas.
Madison said the goal is to expand on STAR Park after examining the initial response and output.
“The hope is that the park will grow and mature like a lot of research parks across the country, so that would mean expanding services and expanding space in the future,” Madison said. “That is the idea and that is what we’re all hoping for.”