SMU to partner with UNT, regional universities and organizations to transform Texoma logistics

$1 million NSF Engines Development Award to advance workforce and mobility systems in North Texas and Oklahoma

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU (Southern Methodist University), the University of North Texas, the University of Texas Arlington, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Dallas College and 25 other organizations in Texas and Oklahoma have been awarded $1 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines program.

Led by UNT, the Texoma Innovation Engine is among more than 40 unique teams from across the nation selected to receive one of the first-ever NSF Engines Development Awards, which aim to help partners collaborate to create economic, societal and technological opportunities for their regions. The Texoma region covers 26 counties, from Dallas-Fort Worth to the south, up to the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma.

The Texoma Innovation Engine will solicit use-inspired projects from the logistics community and, through research hubs located in disadvantaged areas, translate emerging technologies into innovative systems, practice and workforce development programs. These hubs will conceptualize new products and services, incubate startups and facilitate commercialization

“We are thrilled to announce our success in securing this prestigious NSF grant, empowering us to revolutionize the logistics industry in the Texoma Region,” said Khaled Abdelghany, civil and environmental engineering professor in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. “With a commitment to use-inspired research, cutting-edge technology transfer and unparalleled innovation, we are poised to accelerate economic growth and drive transformation in this vital sector.”

Abdelghany will lead SMU’s university-wide participation in the NSF Engines program, which will range from supporting the development of  STEM-focused K12 curriculum, to setting the criteria for startups eligible for support by the Innovation Engine.

Joining the area universities as participants in the Innovation Engine are:

·      Texas Research Alliance

·      Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce

·      DFW International Airport

·      Hillwood Properties

·      the Texas Transportation Association

·      the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

·      Southern Dallas County Inland Port Transportation Management Association

·      Southern Oklahoma Development Association

Launched by NSF’s new Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships and authorized by the “CHIPS and Science Act of 2022,” the NSF Engines program uniquely harnesses the nation’s science and technology research and development enterprise and regional-level resources. NSF Engines aspire to catalyze robust partnerships to positively impact regional economies, accelerate technology development, address societal challenges, advance national competitiveness and create local, high-wage jobs.

“These NSF Engines Development Awards lay the foundation for emerging hubs of innovation and potential future NSF Engines,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said. “These awardees are part of the fabric of NSF’s vision to create opportunities everywhere and enable innovation anywhere. They will build robust regional partnerships rooted in scientific and technological innovation in every part of our nation. Through these planning awards, NSF is seeding the future for in-place innovation in communities and to grow their regional economies through research and partnerships. This will unleash ideas, talent, pathways and resources to create vibrant innovation ecosystems all across our nation.”

The NSF engine awardees span a broad range of states and regions, reaching geographic areas that have not fully benefited from the technology boom of the past decades. These NSF Engines Development Awards will help organizations create connections and develop their local innovation ecosystems within two years to prepare strong proposals for becoming future NSF Engines, which will each have the opportunity to receive up to $160 million.  Read more about NSF Regional Innovation Engines here.

The Texoma Innovation Engine is supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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