Research & Development

Turning Concepts into Realities

Research & Development are the cornerstones of any flourishing economy, leading to greater productivity and GDP. With at least 25% of Abilene’s population having a bachelor’s degree or higher, the city is able to move with an agility that pushes the bounds of what is possible. Abilene’s call to innovate was further solidified when the city council approved DCOA’s “Project Future Hope,” a $2.93 million incentive partnership for Abilene Christian University’s NEXT Lab to expand research and development for advanced nuclear technology at a new facility.

See who’s who in Abilene. Explore the major employers in our region.

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Research & Development

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Key Employers

Hendrick Health

McMurry University

McMurry University


Abilene Christian University

Texas Tech University Health Services Center

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Texas Oncology

Texas Oncology


Pushing the Bounds of What’s Next

NEXT Lab has been an Abilene staple since 2016.

Abilene Christian University’s NEXT Lab, short for Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing Laboratory, is a state-of-the-art facility where students and experts can safely explore possibilities with nuclear energy. The NEXT lab is located on the campus of Abilene Christian University and is home to machine shops, research labs, and numerous high-bay research areas. NEXT Lab’s mission is to uncover solutions to the global need for water, energy, and medical isotopes. In this facility, students work alongside senior physicists and engineers to develop innovations using nuclear reactors and in some cases, even acquire patents for innovative tools to monitor molten salt flow. The experience provided by NEXT Lab empowers students to excel in their field, like this graduate awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship. With Abilene’s commitment of $2.93 million to the further expansion of NEXT Lab’s R&D efforts, the research & development center is poised to bring safe, clean and inexpensive energy into the 21st century.

Two lab technicians operate a machine

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Committed Research for Health and Wellness

Grant funding allows TTUHSC’s School of Pharmacy to commit to potentially life-changing cancer research.

In 2021, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in Abilene became a recipient of partial grant funding from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute. TTUHSC School of Pharmacy will use the funds to bolster faculty projects for cancer research including brain tumors and breast, colon and pancreatic cancer.

Development Corporation of Abilene is a proud recipient of the following recognition: