Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut (left), Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (center) and UA President Luis M. Proenza speak during the ceremony announcing that UA and four other universities are Ohio Centers of Excellence in Enabling Technologies: Advanced Materials and Sensors.
THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON is one of five universities recognized as an Ohio Center of Excellence in Enabling Technologies: Advanced Materials and Sensors. An announcement of the new centers was made today by Gov. Ted Strickland and Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut at UA’s Goodyear Polymer Science Center. Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic opened the event, introducing the governor.
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Ohio’s Centers of Excellence in Enabling Technologies: Advanced Materials and Sensors focus on polymers, advanced materials, nanotechnology, liquid crystal technology and nanoscale sensors. The centers are committed to focusing their academic and research activities on advanced materials and sensors technology development to create jobs and further strengthen Ohio’s ability to bring innovative technologies to commercialization. In addition to UA, these Centers of Excellence are located at Kent State University, the University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University. A sixth university – Youngstown State University – is home to an Emerging Center of Excellence, indicating the school’s progress toward becoming a Center of Excellence.
UA’s Center of Excellence in Polymers and Advanced Functional Materials works closely with existing polymer industry partners and is an attraction for relocating business and a driver of commerce for current regional businesses. The center focuses on the globally distinctive polymer sciences and engineering applied in regional industry clusters, including the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) and ABIA’s Center of Excellence in Orthopedics. Capitalizing on those strengths, the center also will concentrate on technology transfers to start-up companies by utilizing the innovations developed in the center and creating new and high quality jobs.
UA President Luis M. Proenza spoke to the gathering following the governor and chancellor’s remarks, noting the university’s prominence as a world leader in advanced materials research and development and polymer science and polymer engineering, which began nearly 100 years ago.
From left, State Sen. Tom Sawyer; Dr. Frank Douglas, president and chief executive of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron; Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and UA President Dr. Luis Proenza talk following the announcement.
“The University of Akron is proud to be one of the top-ranked polymer programs in the country,” Proenza said. “We also are pleased to have been named an Ohio Center of Excellence in Polymers and Advanced Materials. Ohio itself is the #1 employer in the polymer industry in the nation. By being designated a Center of Excellence, the university will continue to be a magnet for talent and a leader in innovation and entrepreneurial activity in Northeast Ohio.”
The polymer, advanced materials, nanotechnology, liquid crystal technology and nanoscale sensors industries are all supported and enhanced by the Ohio Third Frontier program, a bipartisan $1.6 billion commitment to expand the state’s technological strengths and promote commercialization that leads to economic prosperity throughout Ohio. The Ohio Third Frontier is designed to build world-class research programs, nurture early stage companies and foster technology development that builds upon the strengths of Ohio’s existing assets.
Dr. George R. Newkome, UA’s vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at UA, stressed the importance of higher education, industry and government working together to drive change and economic growth.
“Ideas come in all sorts of sizes and shapes and they need to be nurtured,” Newkome said. “Some are easy and some are hard – but the combination of universities, the community and Third Frontier funding is a perfect combination to shape tomorrow’s economic future.”
Today’s announcement is the fourth announcement of Ohio Centers of Excellence. In October 2009, the governor and chancellor announced Ohio’s Centers of Excellence in Advanced Energy at eight of the state’s universities. Ohio’s Centers of Excellence in Biomedicine and Health Care, which includes UA and its partners at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, at 14 universities were announced in February. Last month, Ohio’s Center of Excellence in Agriculture, Food Production and Bioproducts was also announced.
For more information, visit the Ohio Centers of Excellence webpage.
Media contact: Laura M. Massie, 330-972-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org