Connecting Research Needs with Research Capabilities

Victor A. Fishman, Ph.D., Executive Director, Texas Research Alliance

The Texas Research Alliance (TRA) was founded in 2014 by the Dallas Regional Chamber and the chambers in Fort Worth, Arlington, and Richardson, to help regional companies access the innovation and research that they cannot get within the confines of their corporate boundaries. To provide these resources, the TRA maintains close relationships with Dallas-Fort Worth research universities and small to midsize businesses that make up the region’s active innovation economy.

Companies often use the TRA’s specialized services to understand the regional research capabilities available to them, connect to solutions for specific challenges, engage outside resources to explore alternative solutions, become smarter buyers when undertaking new projects, and find and engage top-notch students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

As the TRA’s Executive Director, I meet with company representatives to discuss their needs, expectations, and requirements, under non-disclosure agreements, if desired. These requirements are then translated into non-proprietary language and shared with qualified potential resources in our innovation network (faculty, professional programs, and small to midsize businesses). Academic resources are considerable in the Dallas Region; The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Dallas, and The University of North Texas have earned the R1 “very high research activity” designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The TRA also maintains relationships with the region’s private research universities, including SMU and TCU, and works closely with our health care and medical research faculty at UT Southwestern and the UNT Health Science Center.

The Texas Research Alliance works with those resources to determine if there is a potential match, and then provides introductions, facilitates meetings, and arranges visits. The objective is to support the development of productive and durable long-term relationships. When companies choose to engage, they do so using their own engagement strategies.

Partnerships with universities often begin with relatively inexpensive senior undergraduate capstone projects, which can run for one or two semesters depending on the project scope. In the case of capstone projects, prototypes and intellectual property developed belong to the company sponsor. This is an ideal way to become familiar with faculty and facilities that match your interests.

Engagements with small to midsize businesses begin with a Texas Research Alliance-facilitated meeting with the corporate technology champion and company principals. These discussions often lead to the exchange of information that ultimately finds its way into a statement of work and a contract for services.

There is no charge for TRA’s assistance as expenses are covered by a regional endowment. We are invested in your success. If you are anywhere in the Dallas Region, you can easily engage with TRA by contacting me at Don’t hesitate to spend some time on our website,