cooperation agreement signed today by officials of The University
of Southern Mississippi and the Universidade do Minho (UMinho) could
lead to greater innovation and economic growth in the polymer industries
of Mississippi and Portugal.
"Partnership for Innovation" will allow the two universities
to exchange academic staff, researchers and students, as well as
promote scientific initiatives in both countries in polymer science,
technology and related fields.
American Ambassador to Portugal, and a delegation of Portuguese
scientists traveled to Southern Miss today for the signing of the
provides a common bond for new ideas and entrepreneurial thinkers
around the world, said Dr. Angeline Dvorak, vice president for research
and economic development. "The impact of the quality of faculty
researchers at The University of Southern Mississippi reaches across
the globe," Dvorak said. "The international partnership
forged today promises to strengthen the global economy, starting
right here at home in Mississippi."
and Portugal both have dynamic and growing polymer industrial communities.
Mississippi specializes in processors and developers of new materials,
and Portugal leads the way in polymer processing and toolmaking.
In recent years, those two areas have become Portugal's leading
industrial export sectors.
was initiated by the American National Science Foundation, the American
Embassy in Portugal and the Fundacão Luso - Americana para
it will combine the intellectual and research capabilities of Southern
Miss' Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC),
Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/U CRC) in Coatings
and the Mississippi Polymer Institute (MPI) with UMinho's Polymer
Engineering Department and Portugal's Institute of Polymers and
academia and industrial companies in innovative activities, the
agreement seeks to develop new polymer applications and products,
leading to economic growth and enhanced competitiveness.
agreement will create the potential for collaboration with Portuguese
industries, and hopefully generate more industry here in Mississippi,"
said Southern Miss President Shelby Thames.
The main goal
of the agreement is to carry out joint research projects between
the IPC and the MRSEC, I/U CRC in Coatings, and MPI; however, it
is open to other American and Portuguese universities, scientific
institutions and R&D companies, based on a joint invitation
from Southern Miss and UMinho.
Southern Miss and the MPI, the Area Development Partnership and
the Mississippi Technology Alliance will be considered as founding
partners in the agreement. Three other Portuguese companies and
innovation centers are also founding partners of the protocol.
what's happening here today at Southern Miss to be very important
to economic development in Mississippi," MDA Executive Director
Leland Speed said. "It is setting the model for what I hope
can be replicated at other schools."
science and technology, the agreement will focus on innovative applications,
new functions and improved product performance of high-performance
polymers and composites. In relation to application fields, it will
focus on aerospace and defense, electronics and communications,
medical devices and high-performance packaging.
companies will look for interesting business opportunities in the
two countries, those in which they might have a competitive edge,
through the support of the other R&D partners.
Palmer said both universities are "world-class, using private
sectors to drive research. That's the perfect way to ensure success."
and UMinho will also hold scientific initiatives such as symposia,
workshops and short courses open to industry, rotating between universities
every two years. These initiatives will be jointly promoted in both
countries to transfer information, benchmark experiences and share
successful case studies.
to undergraduate student exchanges, the agreement will allow Ph.D.
students to do experimental work in partner institutions or under
joint Ph.D. supervision.
outcome of the agreement will not only be new research opportunities
and ideas, but additional funding from the National Science Foundation,
as well as other agencies, said Dr. Marek Urban, professor of polymer
science and director of NSF funded MRSEC at Southern Miss.
of this collaboration are to develop and explore new research and
economic opportunities for greater technology innovation in Portugal
and for partnerships with the U.S. that will foster more rapid economic
growth in both countries," Urban said.