TAMEST Board of Directors Meets with UT Austin Leadership
The TAMEST Board of Directors met with The University of Texas at Austin leadership in September to discuss UT Austin’s strategic plan and expanding research initiatives across the institution. Guests included UT Austin President Jay C. Hartzell, Ph.D.; Vice President for Research Daniel T. Jaffe, Ph.D.; and Executive Vice President and Provost and TAMEST Member Sharon L. Wood, Ph.D. (NAE).
The group discussed UT Austin’s three main research areas highlighted in its recent strategic plan: health and wellness, energy and environment and technology and society.
Learn more about the discussion below:
Health and Wellness
President Hartzell discussed the creation of an active academic medical center in Austin, something he called one of the biggest opportunities for the university in a long time. He described it as the next chapter after UT Austin’s Dell Medical School development 10 years ago.
In August, the University of Texas System Board of Regents announced plans to “launch a monumental healthcare initiative to accelerate and expand UT Austin’s burgeoning medical district into a world-class academic medical center for education, research and patient care.”
Currently, the city of Austin is the biggest city in the country without an active medical center, something President Hartzell said the city itself couldn’t have supported even 10 years ago. However, given Austin’s rapid growth over the past few years, he said now is the time to focus on creating a unique medical center unlike others seen in the state.
The university will demolish its aging Frank Erwin Center, the university’s former basketball arena since replaced with the Moody Center, to make room for two new hospital towers — The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and a UT Austin hospital. MD Anderson, the nation’s #1 cancer hospital, will expand to Austin from Houston by building and operating a new, comprehensive cancer center, while UT Austin will build and operate its new specialty hospital.
Energy and the Environment
UT Austin continues to invest and expand its semiconductor ecosystem on campus as it aims to highlight Texas as an energy leader both nationally and internationally.
Recently, the Texas Legislature approved $552 million in funds from the Texas CHIPS Act for the Texas Institute for Electronics (TIE). The initiative will create a public-private partnership of preeminent semiconductor systems and defense electronics companies, national labs and academic institutions sponsored by UT Austin.
In a similar vein, President Hartzell mentioned that UT and Samsung have partnered to develop a talent pipeline for Texas’ semiconductor ecosystem, with the hope of working together to ensure the needs of the workforces in Austin and Texas are met.
The partnership includes funds for recruiting and supporting undergraduate and graduate students to study semiconductor manufacturing at the Cockrell School of Engineering as well as other key majors across UT Austin to support research and development and upgrades to lab facilities.
Regarding the environment, President Hartzell said they are actively working on pulling together their efforts across campus to work on innovative ways to create energy that works with the environment.
Technology and Society
In addition to upgrading semiconductor facilities and working with industry to create a pipeline of skilled workers for society, President Hartzell said there were several other technology initiatives happening on campus.
Last month, The University of Texas at Austin and Karlin Real Estate, a global real estate investment and development firm, announced a collaboration to launch UT Impact Labs at Parmer Austin, located near East Parmer Lane and Parmer Ridge Drive in north Austin.
The 10,000-square-foot wet lab space is the first off-campus site for the University’s Discovery to Impact program, which will manage the space for lease to life science startups. Discovery to Impact aims to help bring research discoveries to the marketplace.
The collaboration will help to launch startups and allow for partnerships with established businesses to accelerate new products, services, solutions and cures.
Learn more about UT Austin’s research priorities here.