HUNTSVILLE — The Rocket City is a hub of research and innovation for the nation – be it defense, space or commercial.
So, it’s only fitting that Auburn University decided to open a Research and Innovation Campus in Huntsville. And Tuesday, Auburn “planted its flag” in the city’s Cummings Research Park.
“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 Steve Taylor, interim dean of Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. “We might even say that a different eagle has landed.”
The nine-acre property at 345 Voyager Way formerly housed LogiCore. The campus will serve as a state-of-the-art, multimillion-dollar collaboration engine, conference center and research space that extends Auburn’s expertise and next-generation resources to the defense, space and law enforcement agencies.
“The Auburn University Research and Innovation Campus will be where today meets tomorrow,” said Auburn University President Christopher B. 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.”
Experimentation with co-located laboratories will allow Auburn research professionals and students to conduct cutting-edge research and development across a range of technology readiness levels to help customers overcome national security, aerospace and biotechnology challenges.
These laboratories will facilitate expansion in Huntsville of high-profile Auburn research programs such as advanced manufacturing, additive manufacturing, biotechnology, quantum metrology, cyber and critical infrastructure security and assured position, navigation and timing.
To elevate Auburn’s ability to conduct space research, facilities are available for use as an operations center for NASA, Department of Defense and private sector missions.
“As the largest city in the state, Huntsville is dedicated to also being the leader in jobs and economic development,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy 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, a 1985 Auburn industrial engineering graduate who is president of deciBel Research and a former chair of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, also welcomed the Auburn University Research and Innovation 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,” Allen said. “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, who retired from Dynetics in 2016 as executive vice president of business operations and is the Auburn Board of Trustees’ District 8 representative, said he is thrilled to see Auburn expand its partnership with a community he’s called home for more than 60 years.
“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,” DeMaioribus said.
In addition to the research and technical aspects, the Auburn Research and Innovation Campus also showcases rotating exhibits from the university’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art and original works by artist Gamaliel Rodríguez.
“In this building, we will also find limitless inspiration in humankind’s greatest achievements, as told, through art,” Roberts said. “This facility is for everyone … Our hope is that you, too, will call the Auburn University Research and Innovation Campus in Huntsville home.”