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Nanotech Collaboration With Shenkar College Gets Boost

Patrick Administration Officials Sign Agreement in Israel

Shenkar College of Engineering and Design’s Prof. Hanna Dodiuk, left, is studying the science behind nanosurfaces. She is collaborating with UMass Lowell Profs. Joey Mead, center, and Carol Barry.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

UMass Lowell’s nanotech collaboration with Shenkar College got a $30,000 boost on March 10, when the state’s Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki signed an agreement with Shenkar President Yuli Tamir.

Bialecki, who was in Israel as part of the Patrick-Murray administration's Innovation Economy Mission 2011, earmarked the money for the research under way by Profs. Joey Mead and Carol Barry in the Plastics Engineering Department and Prof. Hanna Dodiuk of Shenkar.

The researchers are investigating fabrication processes for materials with potential to reduce costs for maintaining and servicing aircraft by preventing the formation of ice.

“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.”

UMass President-Elect Robert Caret was on hand for the ceremony.

“World-class universities have worldwide reach and collaborate with neighboring institutions and also with research partners in other countries and other continents,” said Caret. “Our growing research portfolio is crucial because our work expands the boundaries of knowledge and creates important new products ߞ; 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. “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”.

The $30,000 will help the team explore 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 ߞ; just one aspect of our relationship, which recently resulted in the development of a joint international graduate program in Plastics Engineering.”

Meehan, who was not in Israel, is the third signatory on the agreement.

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 grants also support UMass Lowell’s nanomanufacturing research.