The University of Akron and The Timken Company today announced a novel open-innovation agreement to accelerate technology development. The organisations plan to combine their expertise in materials and surface engineering at newly established laboratories in the UA College of Engineering.
According to the 24 August agreement, Timken will contribute resources to establish the Timken Engineered Surfaces Laboratory, which will be located in a new facility currently under construction on the UA campus at the intersection of Wolf Ledges Parkway and Carroll Street. Timken’s Gary L. Doll, Ph.D., chief technologist in tribology and next-generation materials, will lead the lab as the newly-established Timken Endowed Chair in Engineered Surfaces beginning 1 September.
Douglas H. Smith, Timken’s senior vice president of technology and quality, hails the agreement as a new model of open innovation.
“Not only is UA Ohio’s fastest growing college of engineering, it is a leading developer of materials for vital, commercially viable uses,” says Smith. “Matching some of Timken’s leading scientists and capabilities with UA’s renowned faculty and gifted postdoctoral researchers and students will further the development and commercialization of advanced materials, engineered surfaces, and performance coatings for the world’s most demanding applications.”
UA president Luis M. Proenza also praises the arrangement, adding that it defines The Akron Model, the university’s blueprint for successful regional development and job creation and a new gold standard for university performance.
“The UA-Timken collaboration demonstrates what The Akron Model truly is,” says Proenza. “Universities must be engaged with the larger community and its regional economies to build a very synergistic and reciprocal relationship with each other – universities feeding the economy and the economy feeding the university back.”
George K. Haritos, dean of the UA College of Engineering, pointed out that this new agreement significantly broadens the scope of the existing Timken-UA strategic alliance.
“For decades, UA College of Engineering students and graduates have been supporting Timken’s global operations as co-ops and employees,” Haritos added. “This agreement further strengthens our strategic partnership with The Timken Company and creates a new, important platform for innovation that will benefit our engineering students, Timken, UA, and the region through our joint research and commercialization efforts.”
The Timken Company will fund and equip the new Timken Engineered Surfaces Laboratory, one of five laboratories to be housed in the new engineering research building. Other labs include the Wright Center for Sensor Systems Engineering as well as those for corrosion and reliability engineering, integrated biomedical engineering and advanced vehicle and energy systems.
Following Doll’s transition to UA, two Timken research investigators also will make the move to the campus to begin work at UA. The value of the partnership to UA, which also includes research funding, is approximately $5m and will place UA among the leading US institutions nationally recognised for surface engineering and tribology research.