Israeli and UMass Lowell researchers to investigate advanced materials

JERUSALEM – As part of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy Partnership Mission 2011, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki today announced support for a collaborative research project between UMass Lowell’s Nanomanufacturing Center of Excellence and Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel. Researchers at both institutions will investigate fabrication processes for materials with potential to reduce costs for maintaining and servicing aircraft.

The Patrick-Murray Administration has made innovation a cornerstone of its economic development agenda. “Our world-class research enterprise sustains the Commonwealth’s innovation economy and is a pillar of our competitive advantage in the global economy,” said Secretary Bialecki. “Governor Patrick is committed to job creation and recognizes that a vibrant and globally-connected research enterprise is a foundation for long-term prosperity.”

“World-class universities have world-wide reach and collaborate with neighboring institutions and also with research partners in other countries and other continents,” said University of Massachusetts President-elect Robert Caret. “Our growing research portfolio is crucial because our work expands the boundaries of knowledge and creates important new products — and also because it creates economic activity that benefits the citizens of the Commonwealth as well as our research partners. I commend Governor Patrick and Secretary Bialecki for providing state funding for this work.”

Founded in 1970, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design is based in Ramat Gan, outside of Tel Aviv. More than 2,300 students attend the college, majoring in fields including design (industrial, textile, fashion and jewelry), engineering (chemical, electronics, software and plastics), as well as visual communication and interior building and environment.

“Shenkar College is extremely pleased to be cooperating with the University of Massachusetts Lowell, one of the leading institutions in the field of nanotechnology,” said Prof. Yuli Tamir, President of Shenkar College. “It is not a given that a solution to the safety problem of ice accumulation will be resolved in a warm country like Israel. This fantastic achievement reflects the high level of research and technological studies at Shenkar College. I am sure that the ongoing partnership with the University of Massachusetts Lowell, which includes a joint program for graduate studies, will foster additional achievements, positioning the two institutions as world leaders in the fields of innovation and new technologies”.

Under an agreement signed today, the administration outlined a commitment of $30,000 to further the research collaboration and to explore pathways to commercialization in nanoscale science and engineering. Shenkar officials will commit comparable funds to the effort. Both colleges envision joint ownership of any intellectual property that results from this collaboration.

“UMass Lowell has a deep and rewarding partnership with Shenkar College,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan, who was awarded an honorary fellowship from Shenkar last October. “This initiative puts their nanotech science experts together with our nanotech manufacturing experts – just one aspect of our relationship, which recently resulted in the development of a joint international graduate program in Plastics Engineering.”

The agreement extends a partnership between Shenkar and UMass Lowell that established a joint international graduate program in plastics engineering in October of 2010. UMass Lowell alumnus (class of 1941) and life chancellor of Shenkar David Pernick was awarded the Frontiers in Science award for his role in establishing the program.

Massachusetts’ contribution to this research collaboration comes from a $5 million multi-year grant awarded in 2005 by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s John Adams Innovation Institute to establish UMass Lowell’s Nanomanufacturing Center of Excellence. National Science Foundation competitively awarded grants also substantially support UMass Lowell’s nanomanufacturing research. Professors Joey Mead and Carol Barry, the center’s co-directors, join Professors Hanna Dodiuk and Sam Kenig of Shenkar in this collaboration.

UMass recently announced that its system-wide research enterprise is growing rapidly, and now tops $500 million a year. Research expenditures have risen from $320 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to $536 million in Fiscal Year 2010.

The Massachusetts Innovation Economy Partnership Mission 2011 is focusing on business expansion, job growth and collaboration during industry forums, company visits and meetings with Israeli and UK business leaders, academics, and government officials in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, London and Cambridge. The Massachusetts delegation arrived in Israel on March 7th, and will depart the United Kingdom on March 17th to return to Boston.

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