By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – University of Mississippi officials on Thursday showcased the first building in what they hope will become a sprawling complex with tenants focused on developing raw research into marketable products and services.
“This is a really exciting time for the University of Mississippi. The grand opening of Insight Park represents a new era for opportunity and growth,” said Dr. Alice Clark, vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs.
Organizational work for the research park began more than 10 years ago. For much of that time, Dr. Sydney Spain led development.
“The university recognized that its research enterprise would lead to increased partnerships with the private sector, to long-term, sustainable collaborations with federal agencies and to the economic development of the community.”
Four tenants – a high-tech health monitoring company, a commercial real estate firm, a company developing natural body-care products and a system design firm – already work in the business incubator that takes up one floor of the west wing.
The 62,000-square-foot, two-story building’s sloping site provides ground-level exits on both floors. Protected south-facing windows offer generous lighting while ground-source heat pumps provide energy-efficient heating and cooling.
Interim Director William Nicholas said the park will attract research capital to the university and investment to the region, enhance the commercialization of new technologies, grow the knowledge-based economy and create career and research opportunities.
Organizers can already point to commercial successes from university-related research in such businesses as Elsohly Labs, which does drug testing, and FNC, which provides financial services.
Chancellor Dan Jones added, “Insight Park is a very tangible way in which the University of Mississippi can transform not just individual lives but can participate in transforming the community around us.”