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University partnership with Dow Chemical benefits chemistry


Rhonda Zurn, College of Science and Engineering,, (612) 626-7959

Preston Smith, University News Service,, (612) 625-0552

U of M to receive nearly $17 million over the next five years from Dow Chemical Company

- New partnership will strengthen research and enable a building expansion -

The University of Minnesota has finalized an agreement with Dow Chemical Company that will result in the University receiving nearly $17 million over the next five years.

Almost $2.3 million per year over the next five years will go to chemical engineering and materials science, chemistry, and mechanical engineering researchers in the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering. Dow also has made a $5 million commitment to help fund a building expansion for Amundson Hall, the home of the highly ranked Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

The commitment is part of Dow's recently announced investment of $25 million per year over 10 years at 11 leading U.S. universities to strengthen research in traditional scientific fields important to Dow and to the nation's future. Dow chose the 11 universities for their excellence in science and engineering education, research and willingness to collaborate with industry.

"This unique and industry-leading investment will support breakthrough technologies and increase collaboration between Dow and key universities, while helping to develop America's future pipeline of Ph.D.-level talent," said Dr. William F. Banholzer, Ph.D., Dow's chief technology officer and executive vice president of ventures, new business development and licensing. "It is vital that we support academic research to ensure universities can continue the tradition of excellence in chemical engineering, chemistry and materials science to help address the needs of the industry and our country."

At the University of Minnesota, Dow will fund a variety of research projects focused on developing materials used in photovoltaic devices; polymers that target electronic devices, floor coatings and the delivery of pharmaceuticals; and catalytic compounds that facilitate the transformation of oil and natural gas to feedstock chemicals. Dow will partner with the school's graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty researchers, giving them a chance to work directly with Dow scientists on an ongoing basis. Researchers from Dow and the University meet by telephone each week to discuss the progress of their research and the researchers will meet in person at least four times each year.

"For Minnesota, the donation and research funding are game changers," said Frank Bates, head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering. "This investment is a real change in the way companies invest in research and work with universities. It's about a partnership to meet the needs of both the company and the university while contributing to our society."

In addition to strengthening the university's relationship with industry, the Dow partnership is bringing together researchers from across disciplines within the university.

"At the University of Minnesota we have a uniquely close relationship between chemistry and chemical engineering and materials science that helps bring scientists and engineers together in new ways to solve important problems," said William Tolman, chair of the Department of Chemistry. "This investment from Dow will help strengthen that relationship and drive exciting research forward."

In addition to the University of Minnesota, other universities receiving funding from Dow include the California Institute of Technology, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University, University of California at Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Michigan.

For more information on Dow's Strategic University Partnerships Program, visit

For additional information read the University of Minnesota's web news feature.