Texas State became recognized as an emerging research institution this year and is already making an excellent step in the right direction. Texas State is striving to further research efforts by launching the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Park this fall.
The editorial board believes the STAR Park is just what the university needs to focus and enhance its core mission on research. The university should continue to increase research expenditures and add more doctoral programs to be on the same playing field as Tier 1 research institutions, such as Texas A&M University, UT-Austin and Rice University.
Criteria from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board says the university needs to ramp up research expenditures in order for Texas State to compete with Tier 1 institutions. The university would need to increase said expenditures to more than $150 million a year and award at least 100 doctoral degrees annually in 15 disciplines. The university has the ability to eventually become a nationally recognized Tier 1 university by improving devotion to faculty, staff and student research.
According to a Jan. 18 University Star article, the university spent $33 million on research in fiscal year 2011. The number is likely to rise with the new park geared toward those ventures.
The STAR Park is part of the Center for Research Commercialization and is a great example of positive collaboration between the university and the city. The park will encourage a growth in jobs and investments within the area due to the draw for private companies in particular fields, including aerospace, nanomaterials and life sciences. The facility will offer a variety of opportunities for cutting-edge research efforts through wet labs, experimentation rooms and office space.
According to a Sept. 13 University Star article, the city has donated $500,000 to help build the infrastructure and utilities on the site. The total cost for the center is estimated at $7 million, and this is money well spent. The center will likely facilitate multi-million dollar research projects which might have never been possible before. The $7 million spent on the park is a great investment for the extensive amount of potential future projects and jobs that can impact the community for years to come.
The editorial board praises all of the university and city officials who have worked tirelessly to make the STAR Park a reality.
It is important that the university and the city work closely together to bring private companies into town. The companies’ investments will prove valuable for research, and can bring hundreds of jobs to San Marcos. Both entities could see a large intellectual and monetary benefit from the STAR Park. It is crucial there is enough public support for the facility this fall.