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Southeastern among institutions receiving National Science Foundation grant for collaboration

May 11, 2023

Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the University of North Texas (UNT), Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas Arlington, and Dallas College along with a network of 25 other participating organizations in North Central Texas and Southeastern Oklahoma, have been awarded $1 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, program.

Southeastern is a member of the UNT-led team, called the Texoma Innovation Engine (TIE), which is among the 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.

“Southeastern will partner with the University of North Texas and will be hosting collaborative research and vendor partner seminars twice per year,’’ said Mike Gaffney, director of the Southeastern Aviation Sciences Institute.  “In addition, we will  serve as a regional research partner connecting the Texoma region with the Dallas Metroplex in the development of this Innovative Logistics Engine model.’’

The joint project is expected to move the region’s workforce and mobility systems forward.

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 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. 

The Texoma engine is a collaborative network of universities, colleges, schools, public agencies, industries, and economic and workforce development agencies. Beyond the education institutions, other participating organizations on the team’s governance board include:

  • Texas Research Alliance
  • Dallas Regional Chamber
  • DFW International Airport
  • Hillwood Properties
  • Texas Transportation Association (TXTA)
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Southern Dallas County Inland Port Transportation Management Association
  • Southern Oklahoma Development Association (SODA)

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.