Huntsville community leaders joined with Auburn University officials Tuesday to hold a grand-opening celebration for the institution’s Rocket City-based Research and Innovation Campus.
Located in Cummings Research Park, the nine-acre property is positioned in close proximity to aerospace and defense industry giants. The campus is also near the Bridge Street Town Centre commercial development and the Gate 9 entrance to Redstone Arsenal.
Steve Taylor, interim dean of Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, celebrated the grand opening as being a “monumental day” for the land-grant university.
“Much like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did in 1969, today is a monumental day for Auburn as we plant our flag in Huntsville,” said Taylor in a release. “We might even say that a different eagle has landed.”
The property is designed to support applied research and development work for Huntsville and Redstone customers, according to AU.
AU’s state-of-the-art Research and Innovation Campus will serve as a collaboration engine, conference center and research space to expand the university’s resources in defense, space and law enforcement.
AU President Christopher B. Roberts hailed Huntsville as being “one of the hotbeds” for the university’s alumni to find employment upon graduation.
“The Auburn University Research and Innovation Campus will be where today meets tomorrow,” said Roberts. “Huntsville has been, and will continue to be, one of the hotbeds for our graduates to work, our faculty to partner with and our students to explore. The facility will fast-track career connections that change the world, not only through the opportunity for next-generation, cross-domain collaboration among agencies, but by supplying our partners access to Auburn’s most promising young minds.”
The laboratories housed on site will allow AU research professionals and students to conduct innovative research and development across a wide range of technology readiness levels.
Due to the laboratories, AU will expand its Huntsville footprint in the fields of advanced manufacturing, additive manufacturing, biotechnology, quantum metrology, cyber and critical infrastructure security and assured position, navigation and timing
Facilities are available to use as an operations center for NASA, the Department of Defense and private sector missions.
Huntsville has quickly become a leader in economic development through innovative research, according to Mayor Tommy Battle.
“As the largest city in the state, Huntsville is dedicated to also being the leader in jobs and economic development,” said Battle. “Across the defense, aerospace, law enforcement, biotech and other sectors, Huntsville is quickly becoming a global leader in innovation, research and development as we unite our rich intellectual capital with new opportunities, such as this partnership with the Auburn University Research and Innovation Campus.”
Rose Allen, an Auburn industrial engineering alum who serves as president of deciBel Research, welcomed the university’s new campus to the Rocket City.
“As the president of deciBel Research and someone who has spent their entire career in space and defense, I’ve seen firsthand the impact Auburn and its graduates have had on this community,” said Allen, former chair of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. “This is a special place made up of the brightest minds in the nation who are committed to making our world a better and safer place to live. And Huntsville just got better because Auburn is here.”
Mike DeMaioribus, member of the AU Board of Trustees and former Dynetics executive vice president of business operations, said the facility aims to be the “go-to destination” for Huntsville government and private sector partners.
“Our hope is this facility will quickly become the primary connection for the Huntsville community to Auburn University and will be the go-to destination for government and industry entities in the area looking to meet in an unbiased, trusted location for technical interchange meetings and other events,” said DeMaioribus.
Exhibits from the university’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art and original works by famed artist Gamaliel Rodríguez will be showcased on campus.
“In this building, we will also find limitless inspiration in humankind’s greatest achievements, as told, through art,” said Roberts. “This facility is for everyone … Our hope is that you, too, will call the Auburn University Research and Innovation Campus in Huntsville home.”
Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL
Don’t miss out! Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.