The Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research, also referred to as I3R, at the University of Arkansas was made possible through a $194.7 million grant from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. The grant funds multiple projects to build supports and pathways to grow the university’s cross-disciplinary research capability, expand the scope of discoveries made by University of Arkansas researchers and increase the velocity in which discoveries are transferred to the marketplace, where they can improve or save the lives of everyday Americans. Funds are also allocated to entrepreneurship education and a Bentonville campus.
This grant followed on Phase I funding of $23.7 million received in fall 2018 from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation that provided gap funding for entrepreneurial projects, built administrative grant support for researchers, expanded patent and licensing processing abilities and created an entrepreneurial Startup Village, among other things.
This Phase II grant, announced July 14, 2020, will build the university’s research mission, including construction of a new research building to house the Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research. It will also endow the institute as a core catalyst for cross-disciplinary innovation and commercialization of research, helping the U of A become a destination for the nation’s top researchers in these areas as well as expand opportunity for subject-matter experts and scientists from industry to join the clusters.
The institute will house five Centers of Excellence, distinct innovation clusters that will drive innovation on the edges between disciplines for an integrated approach to discovery. These fall within the university’s Signature Research Areas: Advancing the Data Revolution; Improving Human Health and Community Vibrancy; Innovating a Resilient and Sustainable Future.
The U of A will advance data science technology and help transform Arkansas’ economy through the application of data science in new ways.
Food and Technology
Arkansas is a leader in the production of rice, poultry, corn and more, as well as home to major food producing companies, making the University of Arkansas a natural choice to be the epicenter of research excellence into food systems and the future of food production.
Materials Science and Engineering
Through nanotechnology and other advanced technologies, U of A researchers develop reliable and economically viable materials that support our everyday lives, from clothing that protects us from the sun to cell phone, car and aircraft components that are safer and environmentally sound.
Bioscience and Bioengineering Research in Metabolism
U of A researchers in chemistry, biochemistry, bioengineering and beyond have developed breakthrough technologies in metabolic disease detection and control with discoveries focused on improving and saving lives.
Integrative Systems Neuroscience
This relatively new research focus at the U of A has grown exponentially in the last two years with imaging research and computational approaches that create opportunity for additional cross-disciplinary research.