Research & Development

Mississippi has a very robust and diversified research and development (R&D) culture. From Mississippi’s major research universities to the federal labs, there is great opportunity for growing businesses to expand their current technologies through R&D. Areas of expertise include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Cybersecurity and Advanced Computing
  • Environmental Quality
  • Military Engineering
  • National Security
  • Ocean Engineering and Naval Capabilities
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Polymers & High Performance Materials
  • Unmanned Autonomous Systems
  • Water Systems and Quality

Mississippi’s R&D organizations and institutions are committed to engaging with industry as part of its mission, by ensuring that technologies are brought to market for the public benefit to continue to grow Mississippi’s economy. Using a broad array of resources from federal programs such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs to component initiatives that encourage technology transfer, innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship, the goal is to advance technologies as rapidly as possible for use or deployment – civilian or military.

Tech Transfer / Commercialization

Universities, hospitals, and research centers conduct a lot of research that generates groundbreaking inventions, that not only save lives, but improve the way we live, work, and play on a daily basis. Learn more about how technology transfer benefits you. View Video

Technology transfer is the process of transferring scientific findings from one organization to another for the purpose of further development and commercialization. The process may include, but is not limited to:

  • Identifying new technologies.
  • Protecting technologies through patents, copyrights, and other mechanisms.
  • Forming development and commercialization strategies such as marketing and licensing to existing private sector companies or creating new startup companies based on the technology.

The priority that is given to each of these factors varies from institution to institution. The ultimate benefits of technology transfer, however, are the public benefits derived from the products that reach the market and the jobs that result from the development and sale of products.
As the transition from a manufacturing-based economy to a knowledge-based economy continues, the role of university intellectual property will play an increasingly important part. Programs are being developed to enhance economic development through technology transfer from local research universities. This growing emphasis on economic development will undoubtedly lead to more complicated relationships, interactions and expectations for academic institutions.


Designing Solutions for Defense

Designing Solutions for Defense (DS4D) is an innovative college credit course created by Stanford University. This course gives students hands-on experience in understanding and working with the Defense (DoD), Homeland Security (DHS), and Intelligence Community (IC) on actual problems they currently confront. Students learn how to innovate at speed and learn how to deploy solutions using Lean Methods solving national security problems.

The University of Southern Mississippi is among the leading universities on the forefront of this innovation. Currently, we are seeking corporate sponsors to mentor and lead students beyond the semester to bring those minimal value propositions up to a level to create a minimal viable product.


Military Labs

Mississippi is the home to two military laboratories. The challenge for the local communities surrounding the labs and Mississippi as a whole, is to identify opportunities within the research being conducted and the intellectual property (IP) being created within the labs to spin out economic activity in the commercial sector.

United States Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center(ERDC)

3909 Halls Ferry Rd | Vicksburg, MS 39180 | Website

The Engineer Research and Development Center is headquartered in Vicksburg, MS. We are an international leader in research, and have programs that conduct research in the physical sciences.

Several of our laboratories are based in Vicksburg:

  • Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory- conducts research in all aspects of water interaction with sediment, structures and operations, dividing topics into two categories: coastal engineering and hydraulic research.
  • Environmental Laboratory- focus in areas of ecosystem science and technology and environmental resiliency.
  • Geotechnical and Structures- Department of Defense lead for science and technology in the areas of survivability and protective structures, airfields and pavements, and sustainment engineering.
  • Information Technology Laboratory- offers expertise in the science of information, the practice of information processing and the engineering of information systems.

ERDC also has contracts with Mississippi companies of over $19 million, as well as partnerships with Alcorn State and Jackson State Universities, and Hinds Community College. There are 46 active patents at ERDC; the majority of which may be licensed for commercial benefit. Furthermore, the Department of Defense offers opportunities at co-development of technologies through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), which are easily obtained and favorable to both the efforts of the US military and private industry.

United States Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Cener (NRL-SSC)

1005 Balch Boulevard | Stennis Space Center, MS 39529 |  Website

The Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center serves as the lead Navy laboratory for research in fields dealing with the Blue Economy such as:

  • Marine geosciences- focuses applied scientific research in three primary areas: (1) characterizing the seafloor and coastal areas, (2) modeling of the seafloor and modeling of the processes causing changes in the seafloor, and (3) furthering precise 4D geospatial information science and technologies.
  • Oceanography- conducts theoretical and experimental research of biological, chemical, dynamical, and physical processes of the open ocean, coastal and littoral areas, and marine boundary layers.
  • Underwater Acoustics- research centers on characterization of environmental acoustics and the theoretical understanding and numerical modeling of how acoustic waves interact in the marine environment.



The SBIR Program

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

SBIR Mission and Program Goals

The mission of the SBIR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.

The program’s goals are four-fold:

  • Stimulate technological innovation.
  • Meet Federal research and development needs.
  • Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons.
  • Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development funding.

For a list of Participating Agencies and more information on the SBIR Program please go to: Website

The MISTCluster website also contains information on SBIR/STTR and other Applied Research Funding Resources: Website

The STTR Program

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR's most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

STTR Mission and Program Goals

The mission of the STTR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.

The programs’ goals are to:

  • Stimulate technological innovation.
  • Foster technology transfer through cooperative R&D between small businesses and research institutions.
  • Increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal R&D.