Edwin L. Aguirre
UMass Lowell recently signed an agreement for education and research cooperation with the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering Technology (CIPET), which is a premier national institution in India devoted to academic and technology support and research for the country’s plastics and allied industries.
Provost Ahmed Abdelal and Prof. Krishna Vedula, special assistant to the provost for international partnerships, signed the agreement on behalf of the University. Representing CIPET were Dr. S. K. Nayak, the institute’s director general and head of all 16 CIPET campuses in India, and Dr. Shri Bijoy Chatterjee, secretary of the Government of India’s Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals and president of the CIPET governing council.
The agreement came about because of Chatterjee’s vision of forming formal alliances between CIPET and leading institutions in the U.S. Abdelal has endorsed the forging and expansion of formal international partnerships since coming to UMass Lowell.
“The timing was perfect for a formal partnership between the leading plastics engineering institutes in India and the United States,” says Prof. Stephen McCarthy, who will serve as technical contact for UMass Lowell.
Also present at the signing were Interim Vice Provost for Research Julie Chen; Profs. Stephen Driscoll, Nick Schott and Ramaswamy Nagarajan of the Plastics Engineering Department, and Joanne Talty, corporate project manager in the Continuing Education Department.
The CIPET team was accompanied by Prof. Ramani Narayan of Michigan State University. Before the signing, the guests were given a tour of the Plastics Engineering Department’s facilities.
“UMass Lowell’s interaction with CIPET dates back to the early 1980s, when Prof. [Stephen] Driscoll visited them to provide lectures and consulting, and to train their faculty,” says Nagarajan. “In fact, Prof. Driscoll is on the board of CIPET’s journal. He also worked at CIPET on two separate occasions as a consultant for materials, additives, processing, testing and commercial development under the auspices of United Nations Industrial Development Organization, or UNIDO.”
In October 2007 Prof. Robert Malloy, the Plastics Engineering Department chair, and Prof. Schott met with Nayak at the K plastics show in Germany to explore possible educational partnership, specifically for the training of CIPET faculty at UMass Lowell. Two months later, Nagarajan had a follow-up meeting with the CIPET management during the PlastiVision exhibition in Mumbai, India.
“The UMass Lowell Plastics Engineering Department has been actively involved with CIPET, and Prof. Driscoll has hosted on five different occasions members of the CIPET faculty working and studying at UMass Lowell on monthly assignments,” says Nagarajan.