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Cross Border Institute for Regional Development launched

Representatives from four research organizations in Texas and Mexico signed an agreement today (April 7) establishing the Cross Border Institute for Regional Development (CBIRD) to help create and shape the Texas-Mexico Border region of the 21st century.

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AUSTIN, TexasRepresentatives from four research organizations in Texas and Mexico signed an agreement today (April 7) establishing the Cross Border Institute for Regional Development (CBIRD) to help create and shape the Texas-Mexico Border region of the 21st century.

Through the agreement, the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico (ITESM), the University of Texas at Brownsville (UT Brownsville), IC2 at The University of Texas at Austin (IC2), and the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) will work together to build a knowledge-based, technology-linked region through new institutional alliances and public-private partnerships.

With offices located in Monterrey and Brownsville, CBIRD programs will create or support strategic partnerships between academic, business, philanthropic and government sectors, said George Kozmetsky, chairman of the IC2 Advisory Board. “We will cooperate wherever possible in areas of economic development, technology commercialization, high-tech industrial park creation, research, education, training, venture capital and other sustainable development activities. We will also assist in the exchange of faculty, students and research staff.”

CBIRD will focus on critical problems facing the Border region, such as education and training, infrastructure (roads, railroads, bridges, energy and telecommunications), affordable housing, quality of life issues, human resources and financial capital. To support its “one region-one future” vision, CBIRD will form binational teams and task forces in areas of sustainable and accountable development. In particular, it will assist in the management of critically important natural resources, including water, air and land, on both sides of the United States and Mexico border. Initially the effort will concentrate on a “pilot region” including Monterrey, Tampico, Matamoros/Brownsville, Reynosa/McAllen, Corpus Christi and Laredo/Nuevo Laredo.

Present at the April 7 signing ceremony at the Monterrey Institute of Technology will be Juliet V. Garcia, president, UT Brownsville and Texas Southmost College; Kozmetsky; Robert Ronstadt, director, IC2; Abderahmane Megateli, CBIRD project coordinator, IC2; Dan Davis; executive vice president, HARC; and Dr. Manuel Zertuche, director of strategic studies, ITESM.

“We are excited to be part of this new partnership,” said Garcia. “CBIRD will function as a cross border catalyst center that is both a ‘think’ and ‘do’ tank where creative ideas are studied, analyzed, disseminated and implemented.”

“HARC researchers are anxious to work with the CBIRD partners to expand our current activities along the U.S./Mexico Border,” Davis noted. “These range from better ways to manage water resources, to improved technologies for law enforcement, to applying fuel cells for energy conservation.”

A joint advisory board, composed of the member institutions as well as representatives from the academic, business, government and philanthropic sectors, will govern the organization.

“The Center for Strategic Studies at ITESM believes that CBIRD will strongly contribute towards the emergence of an integrated, linked region based on a knowledge-based economy and shared vision,” Zertuche said.

Founded in 1943 by a group of Mexican businessmen, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education is a private institution with 26 campuses in Mexico, a student enrollment of nearly 70,000 and a faculty of 5,700.

The University of Texas at Brownsville has been a member of The University of Texas System since 1991. In partnership with Texas Southmost College, the University serves more than 10,000 students at its campus located in Brownsville.

IC2 Institute at UT Austin is dedicated to helping key economic regions of the world increase their wealth creating and prosperity sharing infrastructures. The Institute uses modern telecommunications and multimedia technologies to link research universities, businesses and other institutional and individual resources in developed and emerging regions for shared prosperity at home and abroad.

Created in 1982, the Houston Advanced Research Center is a nonprofit, university-linked research institution promoting economic development and an improved quality of life through scientific discovery and technology transfer.

Susie Brown susie@icc.utexas.edu; Claudia Lopez cllopez@campus.mty.itesm.mx; Letty Fernandez lettyf@utb1.utb.edu; Barbara Peyton bpeyton@harc.edu