Bolstered by the presence of the University of Arkansas-owned Arkansas Research and Technology Park, the city of Fayetteville has earned a 2012 Arkansas Business City of Distinction award for technology advancements. The awards were announced last week in a special supplement to Arkansas Business.
The research park, managed by the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation, includes several facilities that support university research and technology-based economic development. There are 33 University of Arkansas-affiliated companies at the park. The park’s partners include the city of Fayetteville, the Northwest Arkansas Business Council, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, among others.
“The work going on at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park plays a vital role in the university’s emergence as a major public research university,” said Jim Rankin, the University of Arkansas’ vice provost for research and economic development.
Phil Stafford, president of the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation, said, “It is always gratifying to be recognized, however we are especially pleased that our efforts have resulted in Fayetteville winning this year’s City of Distinction Award for technology advancements. The award exemplifies the vision we share with Fayetteville to make the Arkansas Research and Technology Park a dynamic environment where innovation can flourish.”
The research park, which opened in 2004, has grown to encompass six cutting-edge facilities in south Fayetteville, including the Genesis Technology Incubator, the Innovation Center and the Enterprise Center, which each support emerging technology companies that contribute to Arkansas’ knowledge economy. The Engineering Research Center houses laboratories where U of A researchers investigate such areas as solar energy, the power grid, sustainable pavement design, cancer treatment.
“If Arkansas is ever to become something like a heartland Silicon Valley or Research Triangle, and there are education and business leaders in the state who think it reasonable to strive for such a designation, the Arkansas Research and Technology Park in Fayetteville will be at the center of that emergence,” according to Arkansas Business.
Chip Taulbee, publisher of Arkansas Business, said in a note to readers that an independent panel of judges recognized Arkansas cities for their commitment to improving the lives of their citizens and the health of their communities. The awards will be presented at the Arkansas Municipal League conference in Little Rock in January.