Texas’ unique geographic
location, business-friendly regulatory environment, skilled
workforce, and low-cost natural supplies have made it an
economic powerhouse. With a tradition in research and
innovation, Texas ranked second in the nation for patents
issued in 2013. While being home to major tech companies such
as AT&T, Texas Instruments, and BMC Software, the Lone
Star state also represents one of the country’s most vibrant
The present article will discuss Texas’ most innovative
industries and present the federal and state tax credits
available to support ongoing R&D efforts.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
Enacted in 1981, the federal Research and
Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit of up to 13%
of eligible spending for new and improved products and
processes. Qualified research must meet the following four
New or improved products,
processes, or software
Technological in nature
Elimination of Uncertainty
Process of Elimination
Eligible costs include
employee wages, cost of supplies, cost of testing, contract
research expenses, and costs associated with developing a
patent. On December 18, 2015 President Obama signed the bill
making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016,
the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum
tax and startup businesses can utilize the credit against
$250,000 per year in payroll taxes.
Texas State Tax
In May 2013, Texas
passed House Bill 800, which created incentives to attract
research and development investments to the state. Taxable
entities engaged in qualified R&D activities can claim
either a franchise tax credit based on qualified research
expenses or a sales and use tax exemption on the purchase,
lease, rental, storage, or use of depreciable tangible
personal property directly used in qualified research.
Effective January 1, 2014 and currently set to expire on
December 31, 2026, the legislation encourages the creation of
high-paying R&D jobs in Texas and provides an additional
incentive for research conducted in partnership with Texas
colleges and universities. Companies that contract with public
or private institutions of higher education for the
performance of qualified research are allowed an increased
amount of franchise tax credit.
The credit amount equals 5 percent of the difference between
the qualified research expenses (QREs) incurred during the tax
period and 50 percent of the average QREs incurred during the
prior three tax periods, considered the “base amount”. When
taxpayers contract with an institution of higher education in
the state of Texas, the tax credit increases to 6.25 percent
of the said difference.
Innovation in Texas
Texas has consistently outpaced the
national economy and outperformed the nation in growth and
employment. From 2001 to 2010, U.S. real GDP grew by 16.8
percent, while Texas’ real gross state product (GSP) increased
by 23.5 percent.
Texas’ unique geographic and demographic characteristics have
boosted its economic performance and helped it overcome the
recent recession. The state benefits from cheap and plentiful
land, a border location that enables international immigration
and trade, and abundant natural resources, such as oil and
For years, the state was dangerously dependent on its natural
resources. More recently, however, even though the oil and gas
industries continue to thrive, their overall share of the
Texas economy is considerably smaller than it was in the
1970’s and 1980’s.
In the aftermath of the oil-led recession of 1986, the Texas
economy diversified away from the mining industry. Now, the
state’s diverse business community is home to 52 Fortune 500
companies and major players from a variety of sectors, such as
information technology, aerospace, defense, biomedical
research, agriculture, and manufacturing.
Fast Company recently ranked Texas the second most innovative
state in America due to its particularly high entrepreneurial
activity. New businesses thrive on the state’s growing economy
and contribute to the creation of jobs.
According to Dice.com, a website that lists job openings in
the technology and engineering fields, Texas is the country’s
fastest-growing state for tech jobs. In the first semester of
2014, 8,100 new positions were created in a universe of
143,300 jobs. Most new opportunities are in the fields of
mobile, big data, and software development.
Innovation has played an important role in sustaining Texas’
outstanding economic performance. According to the National
Science Foundation, the state ranks third in the nation for
private R&D spending, with an annual spending of $12.9
billion a year. The investments go to a fairly diverse range
of industries, from energy to biomedicine and microchip
The following sections will provide an
overview of the state’s major industries and their ongoing
I. Oil and Gas
The exploration of natural resources,
particularly oil and gas, has played a major role in Texas’
economy. The first successful Eagle Ford well was drilled in
2008, while the country was going into severe economic
recession. The Eagle Ford Shale covers all
or portions of 25 Texas counties, equivalent to an area
of approximately the size of West Virginia.
Due largely to the rapid increase in Eagle Ford oil
production, Texas’ crude oil output volume grew at an average
annual rate of 28 percent between 2010 and 2014. Natural gas
production in the state almost tripled between 2007 and 2012.
In 2013, Texas was responsible for about 30 percent of the
nation’s oil and gas production.
Texas’ wealth of natural resources goes hand-in-hand with the
commitment to developing new and improved ways to explore
them. Headquartered in Irving, Exxon Mobil, the nation’s
largest oil and gas company, is constructing a 385-acre super
campus in North Houston. One of the largest construction
projects nationwide, the $1 billion, state-of-the-art campus
will be home to a total of 10,000 employees.
By incorporating the latest in technological innovations, the
campus is designed to provide the workers with the tools and
capabilities to accelerate the discovery of new resources,
technologies, and products. The company is at the forefront of
drilling innovation, particularly in remote, inaccessible
locations. Its “extender reach technology” has enabled the
development of long-reach wells that can extend horizontally
for miles underground, giving access to previously unreachable
Exxon is also the creator of the fast drill process, “a
physics-based process combining real-time digital analysis of
the drilling system’s energy consumption with a structured
approach to well planning and design.” This innovative process
allows for an improved drilling rate and consequent reduction
in fuel consumption, which decreases GHG emissions.
The case of Exxon Mobile is just one example of the abundance
of ongoing investments on Texas’ oil and gas industry. San
Antonio-based Valero Energy recently announced a $370 million
upgrade of its Houston refinery and Corpus Christi plant.
Phillips 66, a now-independent oil refining company spun off
ConocoPhillips, is currently building its 1.1
million-square-foot headquarter campus in Houston. The company
also announced plans to dedicate $3 billion to refinery
Manufacturing is an important pillar of the
Texas economy. The state’s dynamic and internationally
competitive manufacturing sector is widely known for the
world-class petroleum refining and chemical industries,
however, it also comprises strong, advanced manufacturing
activities, which include the production of computers,
semiconductors, and motor vehicles.
Texas is an icon of the U.S. manufacturing renaissance. The
following 2013 data from the Texas Wide Open for Business
Initiative substantiates the state’s unique position in the
country. Between 2002 and 2012, Texas’ manufacturing output
has grown from $97 billion to $211 billion, an increase of
more than 118 percent. In 2012, Texas accounted for 18.6
percent of U.S. manufacturing exports, nearly double of number
The state’s strong business climate, skilled workforce,
low-cost natural gas supplies, and low taxes increasingly
attract manufacturers. Examples of relocations and expansion
of activities are ever more common. Apple, for instance, is
undertaking a $304 million expansion at its Austin campus,
which will make the Texas capital one of the company’s largest
bases of operation. Global manufacturer of steel pipe products
Tenaris is building a $1.5 billion seamless tube manufacturing
facility outside Bay City, which is expected to produce
600,000 tons of pipe annually.
OCI Solar Power, a Korean solar component maker, recently
opened the first N-Type cell manufacturing plant in the U.S.
Located in San Antonio, the 240,000-square-foot facility will
create 400 new jobs. N-Type cells are more efficient
electricity conductors than regular P-Type solar cells, and
will be made into 72 cell 320W modules. The San Antonio plant
will be able to manufacture up to 50 modules an hour. In
an effort to increase its performance plastics category, Dow
Chemical recently broke ground on a new ethylene production
facility in Freeport. This project is part of a $2.5 billion
investment that have transformed the region into Dow's largest
integrated manufacturing site in the globe and the largest
chemical complex in North America, employing over 4,200
III. Information Technology
The Information Technology (IT) sector is a
huge and growing share of Texas’ economy. IT employment in the
state exceeds 360,000 workers and the output of the IT
services industry has increased by 26 percent between 2006 and
2011, from $17.1 billion to $21.4 billion. Texas is home to IT
titans, such as AT&T, Dell, and BMC Software, as well as
fast-growing mid-size IT companies and startups. The following
illustration presents an overview of major IT companies with
operations in the state.
The Texan government has
shown great support to IT companies. Since 2013, it has
invested over $29.4 million in IT services startups and $3.6
million in IT university projects through the Texas Emerging
Technology Fund. Since September 1, 2013, the state provides a
sales and use tax exemption on equipment purchases for data
centers of at least 100,000 square feet that invest $200
million over five years and create at least 20 full time
permanent jobs paying 120 percent of the county’s average
environment has translated into important IT-related R&D.
Texas’ annual IT services-related patent output has surged by
over 51 percent between 2002 and 2012, with a total of 17,820
patents issued. In 2012, Texas’ universities invested over
$110 million in computer science R&D.
Software development, which constitutes a
strong candidate for federal R&D tax credits, is a
particularly promising sector of Texas’ IT industry.
Headquartered in Austin, National Instruments produces
virtual instrumentation software. NI products are powerful,
flexible technology solutions that accelerate productivity and
drive rapid innovation. Common applications include data
acquisition, instrument control, and machine vision.
With over $1.1 billion in 2013 revenues, NI
employs nearly 2,600 in Austin. The company provides
innovative solutions for a wide variety of industries,
including intuitive and productive design tools for robotics
applications, from autonomous vehicles to mobile systems. The
cutting-edge NI LabVIEW graphical programming language
provides a high level of abstraction for sensor communication,
obstacle avoidance, path planning, kinematics, and steering -
all of which are key to robotics innovation.
IV. Aerospace and Aviation
Texas is one of the most important
locations for the U.S. aerospace and aviation industry. Home
to the headquarters of two international airlines (American
Airlines and Southwest Airlines) as well as two of the
world’s busiest airports and NASA’s Johnson Space Center,
Texas also hosts operations from 17 of the 20 largest
aerospace manufacturers in the world, including Boeing,
EADS, and Lockheed Martin.
The output of the Texas aerospace
manufacturing sector ranks second in the nation. In 2011,
the state’s GDP for air transportation reached an all-time
high of $8.4 billion. Texas’ aerospace exports totaled $5.6
billion in 2012, as shown in the accompanying chart.
Aerospace activities in Texas include
fighter plane and helicopter assembly, navigation instrument
development, advanced space-flight research, military pilot
training, and commercial space travel. According to a recent
publication from the Texas Wide Open for Business
Initiative, the aerospace and aviation industry employs over
153,000 workers at 1,300 firms. In the Dallas-Fort Worth
metro area, the percentage of the workforce employed in
aircraft manufacturing is nearly five times the national
Texas leads the nation in skilled aerospace occupations - it
has more aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians than
any other state in the country. Four of the state's
aerospace engineering schools made it to the nation's top 50
in 2013, including two in the top ten. Texas's
universities are also committed to aerospace innovation.
Together they have dedicated nearly $95 million to aerospace
technology research between 2010 and 2012.
2012, Texas ranked 4th in the nation for the number of new
aerospace-related patents, which increased by 41 percent
during the 2008-2012 period, compared to the previous
The Lone Star state is home to three
important economic centers, Austin, Dallas, and Houston,
figured in Forbes’ 2014 list of “America’s 20 Fastest
Growing Cities”. According to the magazine, these cities
illustrate the healthy labor markets, low unemployment
rates, and business-friendly regulatory environment that
contribute to the state’s outstanding economic
The nation’s 4th largest metro economy,
Houston grew 5.2 percent in 2013, the fastest growth among
the U.S. 50 largest metro areas. According to the Bureau of
Economic Analysis, Houston’s gross domestic product (GDP)
amounts to $517.4 billion, or 33.8 percent of Texas’ GDP. If
it were a sovereign nation, the nine-county region known as
the “Greater Houston” would rank as the world’s 25th largest
economy, ahead of Norway and Belgium.
Representing the larger share of Texas’
economy, Houston’s GDP has grown by $83.6 billion since 2008.
A recent study by the Greater Houston Partnership points out
three aspects that have contributed to this outstanding
have grown by $34.4 billion since 2010 and
account for nearly half of Texas’ export
growth over that period.
Many of the 375,000
jobs Houston added between December 2009 and
December 2013 were in sectors such as oil
exploration, oil field services, and oil
field equipment manufacturing, in which the
value added per worker is considerably high.
The boom in the
Texas shale plays has triggered a boom in
chemical plant construction in the region,
with some estimates placing the aggregate
value as high as $70 billion.
Considered by many as the “Energy Capital of the World”,
Houston is home to more than 5,000 energy-related firms. The
share of Houston’s economy directly tied to energy – and this
includes mining, chemicals, refining, oil field equipment
manufacturing, fabricated metal products, pipeline
transportation, and engineering services - exceeds $186.6
billion, or 38.1 percent of the regional GDP.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the Houston metro
area led the state in employment growth, creating 107,400 jobs
between August 2013 and August 2014. The three fastest growing
sectors were 1) building construction (14.3 percent annual
growth, 7,100 jobs); 2) engineering (13.3 percent annual
growth, 9,300 jobs); and 3) oil field services (11.2 percent,
Houston is also home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest
medical center in the world, responsible for a local economic
impact of $10 billion. With more than 52,000 employees, its
facilities encompass 21 million square feet. Altogether, 4.8
million patients visit them each year.
Houston boasts more than 40 colleges, universities, and
institutions, offering a wide variety of higher education
options. The region has also attracted important investments
in R&D. Exxon Mobil and BP have recently relocated R&D
teams to the area. In March, Dow Chemical Co. announced plans
to build a massive research center in Lake Jackson (located
within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area) with
lab and office space for more than 2,000 employees.
On September 20, the leading global integrated energy and
chemicals company Saudi Aramco opened its largest U.S research
facility in Houston. The center will focus on upstream
research and technology development, including disciplines
such as production management, drilling, reservoir
engineering, geology, geophysics, and advances related to
subsurface sensing and control. The 60,000-square-foot center
will create 100 high-tech, scientific, and research
The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Metropolitan Area is the country’s
6th largest metro economy, with a GDP of $447.5 billion in
2013. It is also the 4th most populous metro area in the
nation. A recent study predicts that, by 2015, the DFW economy
will grow to $464.7 billion and by 2016 it should rise to
Home to the second largest airport in the U.S. and the third
busiest one in the world, the region is a hub for travel and
business. Globally connected and centrally located, Dallas is
a major mid-continent gateway to the world, offering nonstop
access to 187 cities. With quick access to rail, air, and
over-the-ground truck transportation, the region is often
associated with major logistics, distribution, and supply
Dallas’ strong economic performance is reflected in the total
revenue for all 150 DFW public companies in 2013, which
reached $930.6 billion, 4.5 percent higher than the previous
year. The Dallas area has 60,000 business including 100
corporate headquarters. The region is home to 18 Fortune 500
companies, a list that includes:
Irving-based energy giant Exxon
Mobil Corp, with annual revenue in 2013 of $390.2 billion.
Inc. with $128.8 billion in revenue.
Transfer Equity, one of the largest pipeline companies in
the U.S. and owner of some 70,000 miles of pipeline with
operations in Texas, Oklahoma, and all the way to the
California border and into the Great Lakes.
Corporation, a multinational engineering and construction
company whose annual revenue in 2013 reached $27.35
Corporation, consumer care company and manufacturer of
paper-based consumer products with annual revenue of
$21.15 billion in 2013.
manufacturer Texas Instruments Inc., with $12.2 billion of
revenue in 2013.
Technological industries play an important role in Dallas’
economy. According to the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce,
the DFW Metroplex holds about 37.5 percent of the state's
high-tech workers, which correspond to nearly as many jobs as
Houston and Austin combined (26 and 13.2 percent,
Dallas and Fort Worth’s northern suburbs are often referred to
as the “Silicon Prairie”, due to the high concentration of
semiconductor manufacturers, telecommunications, and other
information technology companies. The area includes the
“Telecom Corridor” in Richardson, named after the
proliferation of telecommunications companies, such as
AT&T, Fujitsu, Cisco Systems, Verizon, Samsung Mobile, and
DFW is also among the nation’s top regions for aviation and
aerospace activities, which constitute a key source of
economic strength. With more than 900 companies in North
Texas, the aerospace industry accounts for one in every six
jobs in the area. Lockheed Martin Corporation and Bell
Helicopter Textron are the largest aerospace employers in DFW,
with more than 26,400 employees.
There are 25 colleges and universities in DFW. Launched on May
1st 2014, the Texas Research Alliance (TRA) helps business and
government take advantage of the research expertise found in
According to the Dallas Chamber, companies in the North Texas
spend on average $4 billion on research per year. However,
only a small percentage of it goes to local universities. The
TRA aims to bridge this gap and foster innovation through
cooperation. Within five to seven years the Alliance expects
to generate $10 million or more in direct research grants
annually for its partner universities. DFW is also home to a
growing startup community. The Dallas Entrepreneur Center and
Launch DFW are just two examples of organizations dedicated to
supporting and facilitating entrepreneurship in the area.
In 2014, Austin took the top spot on Forbes’
list of “America’s 20 Fastest Growing Cities” for the fourth
year in a row. Spurred by annual population growth of 3.0
percent and a favorable business climate, the Lone Star state’s
capital is widely considered an economic powerhouse. Austin is
home to the 51,000-student University of Texas at Austin, which
accounts for a unique pool of highly educated workforce, and to
mega corporations as diverse as Dell and Whole Foods.
A major center for high
technology, Austin was dubbed “Silicon Hills”. According to
the Austin Chamber, the region boasts 306 high tech
manufacturing firms, which have grown by 7.4 percent since
2009, employing over 29,700 people. High tech manufacturing
currently represents about 58.3 percent of the region’s
Major companies with
operations in the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area include
Dell, IBM, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm, Inc., Intel
Corporation, Oracle, the Samsung Group (largest semiconductor
production center outside of Korea), Flextronics, among many
others. Austin is among the most international economies in
the nation. The large amount of international trade is
partially explained by the city’s role as high-value goods
producer and national electronics center. In 2010, of the
total $93.5 billion in goods trade involving Austin, $46.3
billion were in
The region’s central
time zone with a low risk for natural disasters, abundant
telecom, and low electric rates has attracted key players in
the data center industry. Data management companies, such as
Bazaarvoice, InfoChimps, Sotera Defense Solutions, and Tableau
Software, have also thrived on the combination of skilled
talent, secure data storage, and reliable, cost-effective
infrastructure and utilities available in Austin.
On October 13, AT&T
completed the upgrading of its fiber network in Austin to
1-gigabit-per-second speeds. Google’s Fiber is currently under
construction and expected to be available in the near future.
The role of ultra high-speed internet in creating new startup
hubs is unmistakable. Austin is among the first areas in the
nation to take advantage of the emergence of a supportive,
fiber-based business environment.
Austin has been called a
hotbed for innovation and business creation. According to a
Brookings Institute report the region ranked 9th in per capita
patent activity in 2013, with an average of 2,500 patents per
year. The University of Texas consistently ranks among the top
research universities in the country with over $1.1 billion in
sponsored research over the past two years.
Austin’s culture of
innovation has made it a premier destination for creative and
digital media technology. This emerging industry encompasses
games, software, and mobile application development, music and
film technology, education technology, advertising, social
media, and digital content.
It is estimated that
40,000 people work within the creative and digital media
technology industry throughout the Austin metro area. The
region is also home to internationally renowned events such as
the SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive conference, which has
been a platform for the launching of innovative products, such
as Twitter in 2007 and Foursquare in 2009.
When it comes to clean
energy, Austin is also an example of innovation. It has over
200 clean technology companies that employ 20,000 people.
These include industry-leading wind turbine and photovoltaic
manufacturers, such as TECO-Westinghouse Motor Co. and
Austin is also home to
important programs that stimulate the development of
sustainable solutions. Headquartered at the University of
Texas at Austin, Pecan Street Inc. is a research and
development organization focused on developing and testing
advanced technology, business model, and customer behavior
surrounding advanced energy management systems. The
organization’s flagship effort is the Pecan Street
Demonstration, a smart grid research project that began in
Austin’s Mueller community and has since expanded across Texas
and into California and Colorado.
Texas is home to some of the nation’s most renowned
universities. These institutions are engaged in cutting-edge
research that promises to benefit society in numerous ways.
The follow sections present an overview of the ongoing R&D
efforts of four Texan universities.
I. Rice University:
Located in Houston, the William Marsh Rice
University was established in 1912. It has consistently ranked
among the top 20 universities in the U.S. and the top 100 in
the world. Given its size, Rice has a considerably high level
of research activity, with approximately $94 million in annual
research expenditures during the academic year 2012-13. Most
notable research efforts concentrate on the field of applied
science; programs include artificial heart research,
structural chemical analysis, signal processing, space
science, and nanotechnology.
Recent advances include the use of mobile sensing technologies
for the generation of biomedical “big data”; the development
of new strategies for weakening cancer, which include
alternating cycles of radiation or chemotherapy with
immune-boosting treatments; and the development of the
nanoribbon film, a de-icing film that allows radio frequencies
Rice’s dynamic and fruitful relationship with the business
world has been recognized all over the globe. The incubator,
“Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship”, was
ranked 1st in the world by the Stockholm-based UBI Index both
for 2013 and 2014. Since its inception in 2000, the Rice
Alliance has assisted in the launch of more than 311 new
technology companies, which have raised more than $1.3 billion
in early-stage funding.
Three new companies born at Rice University have won
recognition in this year’s Goradia Innovation Prize
competition run by the Houston Technology Center (HTC).
NanoLinea, a startup company spun out of the research lab of
Rice Chemical Engineering, won the grand prize. The company is
creating a minimally invasive therapeutic implant treatment
for cardiac ventricular arrhythmia based on carbon nanotube
II. University of Texas: One of the nation’s largest systems of higher
education, the University of Texas System is composed of nine
universities and six health institutions that educate more
than 213,000 students. Every year, UT’s academic institutions
award more than one-third of all undergraduate degrees in
Texas, and its health institutions grant two-thirds of all
health professional degrees. The University of Texas at Austin
is the flagship institution of the UT System and one of the
largest public universities in the U.S. Founded in 1883, it
has the fifth-largest single-campus enrollment in the country,
with more than 50,000 students.
UT Austin is also one of the world's leading research
universities. Its faculty and research staff generated more
than $628 million in federal and corporate funding last year.
This research funding and the graduate students it attracts
help contribute about $2.8 billion and 16,000 jobs annually to
the Texas economy.
UT Austin is committed to helping move groundbreaking
discoveries from the lab to the marketplace. The Austin
Technology Incubator has graduated 65 companies that have
generated $1.2 billion in revenue and created 2,850 jobs in
central Texas. The Office of Technology Commercialization
protects, markets, and licenses the university’s inventions
and software; while the Office of Industry Engagement promotes
collaborative research between university researchers and
their industry sponsors.
During the 2011-12 fiscal year alone, UT’s Office of
Technology Commercialization processed more than 160 invention
disclosures and more than 200 patent applications and helped
secure 41 U.S. and 39 foreign patents.
III. Baylor University: Located in Waco, Baylor is a private Baptist
university and the oldest continuously operating university in
Texas. It offers 144 undergraduate degree programs, 74
master’s programs, and 34 doctoral programs for over 16,200
students. With more than 20 research centers and institutes
and many additional respected department-based faculty
researchers, Baylor was designated as a Carnegie Foundation
University with "high research activity" and ranked among the
"most productive" research universities in America by
Academics Analytics. With leading-edge facilities, Baylor is
home to over 150 teaching and research labs.
With over 300,000 square feet of space for labs, research
centers, workforce training, and academic collaboration,
Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) pairs
university initiatives with industry partners to foster
creativity and ignite discoveries with real-time, real-world
BRIC’s focus areas include 1) electrical engineering research
– such as the creation of highly efficient energy conversion
technologies and energy renewal conversion systems for
smart-grid electrical power distribution systems; 2) composite
materials research; 3) air science – including research in
space weather observation, analysis and forecasting of human
factors affecting aircraft design, and advanced avionics; and
4) quantum optics – with particular focus on quantum laser
spectroscopy, photonic quantum heat engines, and quantum
coherence enhancement of photovoltaics and surface plasmon
Examples of innovation at Baylor are numerous. Researchers are
pioneering techniques to measure pollutants in the icy
currents of the Arctic Circle using the earwax of the 100-ton
bowhead whale. They are also developing revolutionary methods
for the early detection of retinoblastoma using flash
photography, and for the noninvasive identification of cancer
biomarkers in human breath and saliva.
IV. Texas A&M University: The Texas A&M University System is a
statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies,
two service units, and a comprehensive health science center.
Altogether, the system educates more than 131,000 students and
reaches another 22 million people through service each year.
Located in College Station, Texas A&M University is the
flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System.
It is the sixth-largest university in the country and home to
more than 58,000 students. The university was named second in
the nation by The Wall Street Journal among all universities,
public and private, in a survey of top U.S. corporations,
non-profits, and government agencies, based on graduates that
recruiters prefer to hire.
Texas A&M research expenditures for 2013 reached $820
million, often translating into patents and licenses with
significant, far-reaching economic benefits. Researchers and
graduate students are involved in projects on every continent
in the world, with more than 600 initiatives underway in more
than 80 countries. A&M’s 400-acre Research Park includes
10 diversified facilities and more than 500,000 square feet of
space for innovative companies and organizations focused on
transferring new technologies into the marketplace.
Examples of recent advancements include the development of a
novel DNA sequencing technique capable of unlocking a
non-coding section of the human genome called heterochromatin.
Previously thought by scientists to have no discernible
function at all, this mysterious “junk DNA” can actually offer
a treasure trove of insight into complex genetic-related
diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
In the field of agriculture, Texas A&M AgriLife Research
was ranked first in agricultural sciences expenditures for
fiscal year 2012, the latest year for which figures are
available, according to the National Science Foundation. The
agency accounted over $176.4 million of the nearly $3.3
billion spent on agricultural research by more than 30 U.S.
The university is also engaged in the promising field of
robotics research. A research team from the Texas A&M
Bipedal Engineering Robotics (AMBER) Lab was responsible for
the algorithms used by NASA in the advanced humanoid robot
Valkyrie to enable its locomotion, mobility, and full-body
Innovation has transformed Texas from an oil-dependent state
into a strong, diversified economy. The outstanding
performance of Texas’ oil and gas industry is now accompanied
by equally remarkable manufacturing, aerospace, and IT
activities, not to mention the state’s unique role in the
national logistics sector. Federal and state tax incentives
are available to support the innovative efforts of the many
companies that make Texas an economic dynamo.