With a three-story, egg-shaped glass enclosure that glows in the dark, the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise is a landmark in University Research Park.

Although LITE's architectural design turns heads, its location is arguably more impressive. The University Research Park is a 143-acre tract that's home to many federal, state, local and university research facilities and agencies. It epitomizes a time-tested principle: research can be a powerful tool for economic development.

The research park is across the street from UL's athletic complex and its Cajundome and Convention Center. It opened for business in 1992, and the United States Geological Survey National Wetlands Research Center was its first tenant.

Today, other University Research Park occupants include:

  • The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Estuarine Habitats Coastal Fisheries Research Center
  • The Lafayette Primary Care Facility, where future family physicians and nurse practitioners train
  • LEDA (The Lafayette Economic Development Authority)
  • Abdalla Hall, which houses university centers such as the Center for Business and Information Technologies
  • Hilton Garden Inn, which is used to train UL's hospitality management students.

LITE has a next-door neighbor under construction, the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development.

More than 400 employees are employed by agencies in University Research Park. Their total payroll exceeds $26 million.

The park serves several purposes. It's an exceptional environment for teaching and research. It also promotes partnerships between the university, industry and government for research and economic development.

The University Research Park has helped elevate UL's status as a research institution by providing additional opportunities for research and internships for university students. It has also helped diversify Louisiana's economy and has created hundreds of new economy jobs.

The Carnegie Foundation has designated UL as a "Research University with High Research Activity." That puts
UL in the same category as institutions such as Baylor University, the University of Oklahoma, Clemson University and
Auburn University.

LITE was created specifically as an economic development tool by the State of Louisiana, UL and the Lafayette
Economic Development Authority. It harnesses the power of supercomputers to quickly transform massive amounts of data
into three-dimensional images. Through the projection of 3-D images and the use of special headgear, researchers can literally
immerse themselves in those images.

Since it opened in 2006, LITE has helped physicians learn more about breast cancer. It has had a starring role in a science fictionmovie. And, it has been used to show oil and gas companies how immersive imaging can help minimize risk, reduce costs and
increase safety.

In April 2008, Southern Business and Development Magazine named Lafayette one of the Top 10 Great Innovation Markets in
the South, citing LITE as one of the facilities that makes the city worthy of that designation.

The following are some of the other agencies represented in University Research Park.

Abdalla Hall
Regional Application Center, Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
LTAC (Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center)
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Protection and Management (Lafayette Field Office)
Civil Air Patrol and Lafayette Composite Squadron.

National Fisheries Center (NOAA Estuarine Habitats and Coastal Fisheries Center)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Marine Fisheries Service
National Ocean Service
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Ducks Unlimited

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