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$194.7 million grant boosts U of A research, creates new institute

July 15, 2020

The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation is making a $194.7 million grant to advance research and economic development at the University of Arkansas and will allow a new research institute to become reality. The grant is expected to grow the university’s cross-disciplinary research capability, expand the scope of discoveries made by U of A researchers and increase the speed in transferring such discoveries to the marketplace. The new research institute, the Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research (I3R), will receive the bulk of the grant, and will create a flexible, collaborative framework that will facilitate the integration of research across five overlapping clusters of innovation: materials science and engineering; food and technology; bioscience and bioengineering research in metabolism; data science; and, integrative systems neuroscience.

The $88 million earmarked for the institute will include funding for endowed chairs and faculty positions, faculty start-up matching funds, industry liaison and support, and more. The I3R research facility will receive $89 million in funding. Another $3.5 million will be used for entrepreneurship education and $14 million will be used to establish the U of A presence in Bentonville to serve as a spoke of the I3R hub.

In a release about the grant, Steuart Walton, chairman of the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation Board, said, “Arkansas has long been known for its entrepreneurial spirit and as a place where businesses thrive. This grant will support the University of Arkansas as it seeks to drive innovation and transform entrepreneurship and research to commercialization for industries nationwide.”

SSTI will be exploring more innovation happening in the state of Arkansas during our 2021 Annual Conference, Nov. 1 - 3 in Little Rock, Arkansas, in conjunction with our host partner the Arkansas Research Alliance.

Arkansashigher ed, innovation