Texas A&M Engineering to lead the way in research and technology innovation at new RELLIS campus
Texas A&M Engineering is expanding its research and education capabilities as part of the recently announced RELLIS Campus. The new campus, which will be located at a revamped and renamed Riverside Campus, was announced Monday by Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp.
Sharp unveiled plans for the Texas A&M System to invest $150 million to create a new research and development campus to help companies move ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace while also offering a new path toward a college degree.
The RELLIS Campus initially will include a cluster of seven new buildings and test beds to encourage the private sector to develop research facilities adjacent to the Texas A&M System’s site. The focus will include robotics, driverless and connected vehicles, advanced manufacturing, large-scale testing, as well as smart power grids and water systems.
“We must offer new, transformative business models whether we are moving our research from the laboratories into the marketplace, or helping more students to achieve a college education,” said Sharp.
“We are extremely excited to be working on this visionary project,” said M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of Engineering and director of TEES. “The facilities will be designed to meet the private sector’s needs, from creating prototypes to testing." Banks said.
“TEEX is excited to be a part of this initiative,” said Gary Sera, director of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. “The RELLIS Campus will significantly enhance our ability to serve our customers and ensure they are training at the very best facilities, utilizing the latest technology.”
The entire $150 million is committed, either from state appropriations or gifts from donors. Banks said consultants are surveying the site now, and $25 million in upgrades should be completed by the end of 2017. Construction on the first building could begin as early as September of this year.
The three primary tenants at the new campus are the A&M System’s engineering agencies: the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). Each agency currently has facilities at the current Riverside Campus, with plans for new construction, including:
- The $73 million Center for Infrastructure Renewal — authorized by the Texas Legislature — that will develop new methods and better materials for the nation’s ailing infrastructure and train the private sector in how to apply new techniques and materials.
- A $12 million Cyber-Physical Research and Development Center that will be dedicated to robotics, autonomous and connected vehicle technologies, and associated cyber-security facets.
- A $9 million TEES Headquarters and Research Center – a centralized office and research facility for TEES researchers and staff.
- A $6 million Safety Process Center that will test and develop the safest methods to operate in large chemical operations. The facility will house the Mary Kay O’Conner Process Safety Center, which fosters the development of safer processes, equipment, procedures and management strategies to minimize losses within the processing industry.
- A $6 million Industrial Distribution Center that will investigate the best way to manufacture and distribute products. The center will be home to the Thomas and Joan Read Center for Distribution Research and Education, the only distribution focused research center in the world, as well as the Global Supply Chain Laboratory and the Talent Incubator.
- A $7 million TEEX training facility, primarily for law enforcement.
- A $12 million Advanced Research in Transportation Technology Building for research, design and testing in the growing field of automated and connected vehicles.
The College of Engineering at Texas A&M will also be engaged in the proposed education center, which will offer four-year degrees to students not admitted to Texas A&M University through affiliations with other universities in the Texas A&M System.
The education center would be available for continuing education, short courses and other professional development programs. Details of the proposed $38 million education center are still being formalized and must be approved by the Board of Regents and reviewed by state authorities.
“Companies that take advantage of these incredible opportunities to establish facilities at the revamped Riverside Campus will be exposed to our outstanding faculty and students’ creative energy, and the students would have the opportunity to experience cutting-edge research in the field,” said Texas A&M President Michael Young. “We are extremely excited to be working with the Texas A&M System on this endeavor.”
For more information about RELLIS Campus, view the brochure.
See additional videos from the event, including Chancellor Sharp's announcement.