Last year, the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) and Louisiana Tech University capitalized on their seven-year partnership to create the Louisiana Tech Research Institute (LTRI). The LTRI is a non-profit 501c3 corporation located at the National Cyber Research Park (NCRP) and currently operating out of the CIC. Its mission is aimed at expanding the knowledge-based, 21st century workforce. A year later, how close is the LTRI to reality and how will it impact the burgeoning technology-knowledge based industry here?
“The Louisiana Tech Research Institute’s (LTRI) was created to solve national strategic challenges through leadership and innovation. More specifically, LTRI will focus on advancing basic research to applied research and ultimately to technology commercialization,” said CIC President Craig Spohn. “Through this strategy, LTRI will continue to expand our region’s knowledge-based workforce by attracting public and private funding in the form of grants and contracts, creating an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship that spins off new companies, and serve as an attraction of the knowledge-based workforce every community covets.”
With state budget cuts drastically impacting higher education, the LTRI is crucial in strengthening Louisiana Tech University by securing more funding for basic research which helps retain and recruit new faculty to the university. LTRI will also work with CIC and Louisiana Tech University to increase the number of patents, licenses, and technology commercialization that occurs.
“LTRI is the formal recognition of the existing and productive partnership between Louisiana Tech University and the Cyber Innovation Center. LTRI will enable both the CIC and Louisiana Tech University to be more responsive in meeting the needs of its partners and open the door to new opportunities,” said Spohn.
Moreover, the LTRI will support the growth of the National Cyber Research Park by serving as an engine for innovation and catalyst of growth which will attract jobs to the park and provide support to those companies who locate there. CIC Vice President G.B. Cazes explained, “For example, you have research being conducted and then businesses can spin off creating new companies and jobs in the community.”
With Bossier Parish Community College next door, LTRI will also have a positive effect on those students.
“LTRI will support new articulation agreements between BPCC and Louisiana Tech which will allow students to easily move from BPCC into undergraduate degree programs at Louisiana Tech,” added Cazes.
Another benefactor of this project is Barksdale Air Force Base. LTRI is positioned to support the defense and intelligence communities and has unique assets and skills that can support BAFB and the growing mission of Air Force Global Strike Command.
“LTRI is home to the Center for Assurance, Deterrence, Escalation, & Non-proliferation Sciences and Education (CADENSE), which is a nuclear think tank geared towards the technical and policy issues facing our nuclear enterprise,” Cazes explained.
The LTRI facility is currently under design with construction slated to begin in late 2017. The facility will provide a new, advanced physical location to do more research, development and tech transfer.
Spohn revealed, “These facilities are unique in many ways from a standard office building. They provide for favorable environments for collaboration and very focused research for supporting defense and intel community members.”