Houston Advanced Research Center

Houston Advanced Research Center

company_name = Houston Advanced Research Center
company_type = Nonprofit
foundation = The Woodlands, Texas, USA 1982
location_city = The Woodlands, Texas
location_country = United States
key_people = George P. Mitchell, Founder and
Robert C. Harriss, President
industry = Sustainable development
Policy analysis
Research and development
revenue = $20 million by 2008
num_employees = approximately 45
slogan = "Moving knowledge to action"
homepage = [http://www.harc.edu www.harc.edu]
The Houston Advanced Research Center, commonly referred to as HARC, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in The Woodlands, Texas dedicated to improving human and ecosystem well-being through the application of sustainability science and principles of sustainable development. HARC employs a staff of about 45 researchers and administrators. Revenues are projected to reach $20 million by 2008, primarily derived from projects supported by government agencies, foundations and corporations.citeweb|url=http://www.harc.edu/About|title=About HARC|publisher=The Houston Advanced Research Center|date=2007-01-23|accessdate=2007-08-02]


After founding The Woodlands in 1974, billionaire philanthropist George P. Mitchell began discussions with local universities including Texas A&M University, Rice University, and the University of Houston in order to establish a center in basic, applied, and policy research. A feasibility study was conducted by Arthur D. Little, Inc., and it was concluded that The Woodlands would be a suitable site for such a facility. Mr. Mitchell then founded the research center in 1982, then named the Houston Area Research Center.

HARC’s first research program, a laser study of materials, was sponsored by the Strategic Defense Initiative program in 1983. The following year in 1984, the University of Texas joined the HARC Consortium which already included the original universities that Mr. Mitchell had sought out. In 1985, an act of the Texas Legislature created HARC's Geotechnology Research Institute (GTRI), to improve technology used in oil and gas exploration. That same year the Center for Global Studies was merged into HARC as an operating division. The Center organized the Woodlands Conferences, managed the Mitchell Prize competition, and developed field work in Houston, the Rio Grande and Northeast Brazil. In 1986, NEC chose HARC for the location of its NEC SX-2, its first supercomputer in North America.

The Houston Area Research Center changed its name to what HARC is presently known to stand for – The Houston Advanced Research Center – in 1990. Construction of HARC's microwave imaging facility was completed the following year. New laboratories were opened for DNA technology and geographical information systems. In 1993, HARC researchers in the high-bay test facility set a world record for the highest current through a super-conducting cable. Working together with Varian Instruments, HARC produced the world’s first actively shielded magnet for NMR spectroscopy to The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in 1995.

After a review of HARC programs, in 2000 HARC leaders decided to narrow the focus of the organization. HARC was restructured to be an organization dedicated entirely to the application and development of sustainability science at the regional level. Since 2000, HARC’s six core programs have grown and its revenues have increased four-fold. In 2005, George P. Mitchell established the Endowment for Regional Sustainability Science, which provides stable income for HARC’s continuing operations.citeweb|url=http://www.harc.edu/About/History|title=History|Publisher=Houston Advanced Research Center|date=2006-04-17|accessdate=2007-08-06|]

Five Priorities

# Air & Climate
# Built Environment
# Clean Energy
# Ecosystems & Water
# Environmental Health

Air & Climate

HARC's Air Quality & Climate Program includes efforts in several areas: air quality research and management; air emissions technologies; urban heat island mitigation planning; scenario building for transportation and air quality; the links between air quality and human health; air quality and the built environment; and regional impacts and solutions related to climate change. HARC also serves as Research Management Organization to the Texas Environmental Research Consortium to advise policy decisions regarding air and climate.citeweb|url=http://www.harc.edu/OurWork/AirClimate|title=Air & Climate|publisher=Houston Advanced Research Center|date=2007-06-13|accessdate=2008-08-06]

HARC is in the early stages of coordinating the Texas Climate Initiative, which will include both outreach forums and technical workgroups. The workgroups will analyze the impacts of global warming on the Texas economy, biodiversity, energy demand, and number of other areas. The outreach forum will include advocacy, youth, and communications forums. As a part of the outreach, new media and global warming games will be evaluated and used as communication tools.

Built Environment

HARC's Built Environment Program conducts and applies research in three major areas — building materials, building methods, and building systems that support the construction of high performance green buildings. The program's goal is to promote the utilization of environmentally friendly materials, conservation of water and energy, and a healthier interior environment for buildings in the region.citeweb|url=http://www.harc.edu/OurWork/BuiltEnvironment|title=Built Environment|publisher=Houston Advanced Research Center|date=2007-05-10|accessdate=2008-08-06]

Clean Energy

The mission of the Clean Energy Program is to accelerate development and adoption of clean energy technologies, services, and policies that enhance regional sustainability. The work of the program includes several areas: stationary fuel cells; combined heat and power generation; energy market tools and products; strategic energy planning; clean energy applications analysis; and clean energy policy analysis. citeweb|url=http://www.harc.edu/OurWork/CleanEnergy|title=Clean Energy|publisher=Houston Advanced Research Center|date=2006-05-26|accessdate=2008-08-08]

Ecosystems & Water

HARC's Ecosystems and Water Resources Program emphasizes biodiversity, water quality and quantity, ecosystem informatics, economics, policy, and social and institutional analysis. The goal of the program is to link ecosystems and water resources to sustainable development through improved understanding of the interactions between humans and these resources and to facilitate regulatory, institutional and technological change and improved decision making.citeweb|url=http://www.harc.edu/OurWork/EcosystemsWater|title=Ecosytems & Water|publisher=Houston Advanced Research Center|date=2007-07-12|accessdate=2008-08-08]

Environmental Health

HARC's Environmental Health Program includes efforts in toxicogenomics and regional health indicators. In toxicogenomics, HARC employs genomics, proteomics and pharmacogenomics technologies as well as systems biology to investigate toxicology of the ecosystem, to develop new and more predictive assays, and to develop new methods to monitor human exposure and health. At the regional scale, HARC combines information technology and expert input to develop environmental health indicators that steer the development of public policy.citeweb|url=http://www.harc.edu/OurWork/EnvironmentalHealth|title=Environmental Health|publisher=Houston Advanced Research Center|date=2006-05-06|accessdate=2008-08-08]


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