Southwest Research Institute

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Southwest Research Institute
Independent, nonprofit research and development
Founded 1947
Founder Thomas Slick, Jr.
Headquarters San Antonio, Texas, USA
Revenue $592 million (FY 2015)
Number of employees
2,797 (FY 2015)

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the oldest and largest independent, nonprofit, applied research and development (R&D) organizations in the United States. Founded in 1947 by oil businessman Thomas Slick, Jr., SwRI provides contract research and development services to government and industrial clients.

SwRI’s mission statement is, "Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology".

The institute consists of a number of technical divisions that offer multidisciplinary, problem-solving services in a variety of areas in engineering and the physical sciences.

Technical divisions[edit]

SwRI consists of 9 divisions that offer multidisciplinary, problem-solving services in a variety of areas in engineering and the physical sciences:

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

Scope and size[edit]

More than 4,000 projects are active at the institute at any given time. These projects are funded almost equally between the government and commercial sectors. At the close of fiscal year 2015, the SwRI staff numbered 2,708 employees and total revenue was $592 million.[1] The institute provided $7.2 million to fund innovative research through its internally sponsored R&D program.

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.

Space projects[edit]

SwRI has various levels of involvement in a wide range of US space projects including:


In 2015, staff members published 603 papers in the technical literature; made 495 presentations at technical conferences, seminars and symposia around the world; submitted 66 invention disclosures; filed 39 patent applications; and received 51 U.S. patent awards.[2]

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 two 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. The institute also provides environmental monitoring expertise at a munitions disposal site at the Umatilla Army Depot in Hermiston, Oregon.


External links[edit]

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