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Chancellor, Faculty to Participate in Polymer Conference in Northern Ireland

Meeting to Showcase Advances in Processing, Manufacturing

Queen's University Belfast
UMass Lowell is partnering with Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, above, and Dublin City University to host the Advanced Materials, Polymer Processing and Manufacturing Conference in Belfast, Sept. 25 and 26.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

UMass Lowell’s mission to enhance the student experience by providing a global perspective will be highlighted when Queen’s University Belfast — in partnership with UMass Lowell and Dublin City University — hosts the Advanced Materials, Polymer Processing and Manufacturing Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Sept. 25 and 26.

The event, which brings together the largest university research groups in plastics engineering from the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland, will showcase the latest developments in the field, including biopolymers, polymer nanocomposites and nanomanufacturing, medical device technologies and biomedical diagnostics. The meeting will also feature exhibits and networking opportunities between students, academia and industry.

Chancellor Marty Meehan will deliver remarks during the opening ceremony and gala dinner. Plastics engineering Profs. Stephen McCarthy, Joey Mead and Carol Barry, biology Prof. Susan Braunhut, management Prof. Steven Tello and Prof. Sheila Noone of the UMass Medical School will give invited talks.

“The conference is part of the initiatives of the Center for Irish Partnerships at UMass Lowell, which seeks to promote and expand academic and research collaborations with various institutions throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland,” says McCarthy.

McCarthy, who has been designated as this year’s University Professor, is a co-director of the center. 

“Our partner institutions include Queen’s University Belfast, Dublin City University, St. Mary’s University College Belfast and St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra,” he says. “We are also close to signing agreements with the University of Ulster, the Cork Institute of Technology, the Letterkenny Institute of Technology and the National University of Ireland, Galway.”

A Shared Heritage, Future

Irish is the leading ancestry group in Massachusetts, with 24 percent of its residents being of Irish descent. Middlesex County has the highest concentration of Irish-Americans, numbering more than 350,000.

The Center for Irish Partnerships is reconnecting Lowell to Ireland through its various programs and activities. These include the U.S./Ireland Emerging Technologies Conference series, which was first held at UMass Lowell in 2009, then in Dublin in 2011 and will return to UMass Lowell in 2013; the student-exchange programs, wherein students are able to study at Irish universities for UMass Lowell credits; and the Irish-American Heritage Archeological Program, an annual two-week archeological dig in Lowell and County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.

In addition to McCarthy, the center is co-directed by Prof. Frank Talty, Prof. Ann Marie Hurley and Victoria Denoon. For more information, visit the Center for Irish Partnership website.