We are embracing the growth and spirit of Austin.
3. Build symbiotic partnerships across our rapidly-growing, tech-driven capital city
Technology Collaborations through Texas Robotics
- This science and engineering partnership collaborates with area tech industry groups and Army Futures Command to advance robotics education and research in numerous areas including medicine, rehabilitation, transportation, drilling, manufacturing, energy, national security and space exploration.*
Fighting a Virus with the COVID-19 Modeling Consortium
- CNS scientists and students, in partnership with medical leaders, social scientists, engineers and researchers in the Texas Advanced Computing Center, are developing innovative models that advance the surveillance, forecasting and mitigation of pandemics like COVID-19. The consortium provides decision-support analyses for local, state and national leaders striving to protect the health and well-being of our society and have helped ensure Austin has the lowest fatality rate from COVID-19 of any major metro area.*
New Pathways to High-Demand Careers
- In partnership with Austin Community College, the College and its units are building new co-enrollment opportunities in biotechnology training and STEM teaching certification.
Key Updates and Priorities for 2023–2024
Co-enrollment with Austin Community College: Two pilot programs will continue, including the planned biotechnology training program and the STEM teacher preparation offering. Additionally, new partnerships with the ACC Army/Marines Software Factory are considering new ways to bring high-demand workforce training to active-duty soldiers via our online master’s programs in Computing, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence.
We are embracing the growth and spirit of Texas.
4. Serve Texans across the state with science that enhances life, work, health and learning
Expansion of the Texas Field Station Network
- Field stations are portals for better understanding and protecting our world. With sites around the state, researchers will be able to create knowledge that leads to healthier lives through more sustainable and resilient sources of food, water and energy and world-changing scientific breakthroughs that promote the vibrancy of Texas and our planet.*
Hosting a regular Texas Science Festival
- Open to science enthusiasts everywhere, the Texas Science Festival offers opportunities for the community to learn about scientific discovery and explore topics relevant for our changing world.
- CNS serves the people of Texas through many outreach units and programs. These programs are fundamental to UT’s aspiration of becoming the highest-impact public research university in the world. CNS is actively working to maximize its public engagement impact through improved college-wide strategy, coordination and communication across units and efforts.*
- In partnership with colleges and colleagues across campus, CNS has helped launch a new resource to help families, educators and youth connect to the university's offerings in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The new website, called STEM Starts, helps users navigate different opportunities including STEM camps, workshops, tutoring, teacher professional development and more.
Key Updates and Priorities for 2023–2024
Texas Field Station Network: The college announced its largest-ever gift to support this initiative and hired a manager to oversee the network, based in the Biodiversity Center. After 2021, when the Wildflower Center joined the network with Stengl Lost Pines and Brackenridge Field Lab, the UT Marine Science Institute, White Family Outdoor Learning Center, McDonald Observatory and a planned Hill Country Field Station were announced as well. This has given Texas one of the most ambitious and largest networks of field stations in the central United States, which will allow for critical insights into environmental changes and resource considerations unique to Texas.
The 2023 Texas Science Festival took place Feb. 21 - March 4. The free, public event featured talks from notable authors and dozens of UT faculty, science outreach staff and friends of the college. The event attracted thousands to campus for live events and involved more than 18,000 people in free online programming.
Revitalizing and reopening spaces to welcome the science-interested public. The Patton Marine Science Education Center reopened to the public at the UT Marine Science Institute in October with new exhibits and offerings. Meanwhile, in Austin new investments have helped Texas Memorial Museum prepare to reopen in fall 2023 with new exhibits and a new name: Texas Science and Natural History Museum.
New efforts in public engagement: Having established a role for a new college assistant director for community engagement, new monthly gatherings of outreach staff are underway to ensure both resource-sharing and awareness among units working with the public. The University’s Wildflower Center deepened its research connections with the main campus; the McDonald Observatory began outreach to K-12 schools in preparation for two upcoming eclipses passing over Texas in the next year; and substantial investments were made in Texas Memorial Museum, which has now been renamed Texas Science and Natural History Museum. Following a major overhaul, the museum reopens to the public in September 2023.
Preparing students for college-level STEM Success: As we continue to offer K-12 teachers, schools and students opportunities for STEM engagement via the STEM Starts website, the college also has played a leadership role in an ambitious new initiative with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to help students have essential college-readiness experiences in mathematics. This work is bringing together UT faculty and faculty from community colleges and high schools to develop and deploy large-scale, effective digital course materials that aim to help students—from high school through the community college and undergraduate years—succeed in math.