This post originally appeared on the Auburn University Newsroom.
Expansion of the Auburn Research Park—which fosters creativity and innovation for more than 20 industries—is nearing.
This summer, the 171-acre park will be expanding with the groundbreaking for a 100,000-square-foot Research and Innovation Center that will be home to a range of commercial clients. On the ground floor, a new innovation center will house the Harbert College of Business Tiger Cage Incubator and Accelerator along with the Auburn Business Incubator. The facility will be home to the university’s Office of the Vice President for Research, and expansion space for university researchers and industry collaboration is also available.
Altogether, the site is home to an entrepreneurial ecosystem that embraces collaboration, promotes partnerships and advances the state of Alabama.
Blair Chenault, CEO of Flashtract Inc., started his company as part of the university’s Tiger Cage Accelerator in the Harbert College of Business. Flashtract is a construction payment and invoicing system, and Chenault said the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation was a priceless resource during the early days of starting the company.
“The foundation provided feedback on our product and even gave us a chance to test our software on their construction projects,” Chenault said. “This gave us a tremendous head start gaining users and collecting early feedback. Without the nurturing environment provided by the Research Park and university, we would not be where we are today.”
The Auburn Research Park plays a significant role in leveraging Auburn University’s intellectual property assets to technology-based economic development by facilitating technology transfer, developing industry partnerships, forming and nurturing new business ventures and attracting knowledge-based companies to the park.
Auburn President Steven Leath said the park was a factor in the university’s recent recognition as a Carnegie R1 research institution.
“The impact that we have on the Alabama economy comes out of our research and our scholarship,” Leath said. “I think the drive to develop new things that have practical applications is in our DNA as a land-grant institution. We want to make our communities thrive and our citizens prosper and we’re doing that, and much of it starts with the concepts and mindsets that are right here on this campus.”
Leath said the work being done at the research park is critical to Auburn’s commitment to excellence and to leading, influencing, engaging and developing partnerships that deliver real-world solutions.
For the tenants of the research park, the space provides the resources they need to grow their businesses and form new partnerships.
In addition to the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation breaking ground on the new Research and Innovation Center, East Alabama Medical Center will break ground in fall 2019 on an 88,000-square-foot health sciences center at the park that will house a free-standing emergency department, an ambulatory surgery center with four surgical suites, as well as health science and medical research units. East Alabama Medical Center’s presence in the park will create additional opportunities for internships and clinical research, and will help serve the medical needs of Auburn’s growing population.
Read more about the Auburn Research Park and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation at https://www.auburnrtf.org.