Southwest Research Institute

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Southwest Research Institute
TypeIndependent research and development
FounderThomas Slick, Jr.
HeadquartersSan Antonio, Texas, United States
RevenueNearly $674 million (FY 2019)
Number of employees
Nearly 3,000 (FY 2019)

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is an independent and not-for-profit applied research and development (R&D) organization. Founded in 1947 by oil businessman Tom Slick,[1] it provides contract research and development services to government and industrial clients.


The institute consists of nine technical divisions, The Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, also operates on the SwRI grounds. More than 4,000 projects are active at the institute at any given time. These projects are funded between the government and commercial sectors. At the close of fiscal year 2019, the staff numbered approximately 3,000 employees and research volume was almost $674 million. The institute provided $8.7 million to fund research through its internally sponsored R&D program.

A partial listing of research areas includes space science and engineering; automation, robotics, and intelligent systems; avionics and support systems; bioengineering; chemistry and chemical engineering; corrosion and electrochemistry; earth and planetary sciences; emissions research; engineering mechanics; fire technology; fluid systems and machinery dynamics; and fuels and lubricants. Additional areas include geochemistry and mining engineering; hydrology and geohydrology; materials sciences and fracture mechanics; modeling and simulation; nondestructive evaluation; oil and gas exploration; pipeline technology; surface modification and coatings; and vehicle, engine, and powertrain design, research, and development. In 2019, staff members published 673 papers in the technical literature and made 618 presentations at technical conferences, seminars and symposia around the world; and submitted 48 invention disclosures; filed 33 patent applications; and received 41 U.S. patent awards.

SwRI research scientists have led several NASA missions, including the New Horizons mission to Pluto,[2] the Juno mission to Jupiter[3] and the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission to study the Earth's magnetosphere.[4]

SwRI initiates contracts with clients based on consultations and prepares a formal proposal outlining the scope of work. Subject to client wishes, programs are kept confidential. As part of a long-held tradition, patent rights arising from sponsored research are often assigned to the client. SwRI generally retains the rights to institute-funded advancements.

The institute's headquarters occupy more than 2.3 million square feet of office and laboratory space on more than 1,200 acres in San Antonio. SwRI has technical offices and laboratories in Boulder, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Warner-Robins, Georgia; Ogden, Utah; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Rockville, Maryland; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Beijing, China; and other locations.

A SwRI's technical magazine is published three times each year to spotlight the research and development projects currently underway. A complementary Technology Today podcast is also available.

Technical divisions[edit]

The SwRI consists of nine divisions, each with their own respective field:

  • Applied Physics
  • Applied Power
  • Intelligent Systems
  • Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Office of Automotive Engineering (Powertrain Engineering and Fuels and Lubricants Research)
  • Defense and Intelligence Solutions
  • Space Science and Engineering

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History". Southwest Research Institute. 2016-07-17. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
  2. ^ "New Horizons : The Teams". Retrieved 2019-12-08.
  3. ^ "Juno: The Team".
  4. ^ "MMS-SMART Team". Retrieved 2019-12-08.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°26′38″N 98°36′47″W / 29.4438°N 98.6130°W / 29.4438; -98.6130