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Ford Invests $60 Million in University Research Projects

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On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 2:10PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Invests $60 Million in University Research Projects

Since the University Research Programs (URP) began in 1989, Ford has invested more than $60 million in university research projects, offering nearly 500 grants to 100 schools globally.

Some of the world’s most prestigious university professors and students are pairing up with Ford scientists in 2010 to explore a wide range of new technologies planned to benefit future Ford vehicle development.
This year, Ford awarded 13 University Research Program grants to 12 different universities around the world, including Wayne State University in Detroit; Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; RWTH Aachen University in Aachen, Germany; and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
According to Ford Motor Co., Ford’s new collaborative program is a relatively new approach aimed at “testing the properties of thermoplastics modified with nano materials and developing an in-vehicle safety alert system for diabetic drivers, to studying the environmental and economic impact of batteries for electric vehicles.”  In total, Ford is planning 30 study projects utilizing 26 world-wide universities.

Research collaborations are a driving force behind the innovations bringing consumers to Ford—and will be crucial to keep them coming back,” said Gerhard Schmidt, Ford chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering. “The spirit of collaboration fostered by initiatives such as the Ford University Research Program maximizes our chances of developing relevant technologies our customers want and value. As our scientists and engineers have become increasingly adept at innovating with their university counterparts, the quality of proposals has risen and the interest in awards has become more intense,” said Krause.

Successful projects that Ford has orchestrated through URP include alternative power systems; automotive engineering and safety; environmental issues; infotronics, electrical and electronics and controls; materials and structures; manufacturing and quality; and powertrain. In the 90s, Ford, in collaboration with the University of Illinois, developed a new technology that controls diesel emissions which is used today in the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged diesel powering the 2011 Super Duty, which complies with new 2010 federal regulations to reduce NOx levels by more than 80 percent.

Ford’s innovation in development of new and improved automotive technology has helped the automaker to forge alliances with leading organizations such as MIT, the University of Michigan, Northwestern, and The Boeing Company, which has been in an active strategic alliance with Ford for more than 15 years.

In recent years, Ford has invested more than $100 million in total in these advanced collaborative research efforts, resulting in numerous technical advancements.

University of Michigan Professor Jessy Grizzle, who has been conducting engine and emissions control research with Ford through the University of Michigan strategic alliance for years, stated: “I’ve been working with students and strong engineers at Ford for nearly 25 years developing rich, relevant and practical solutions that can help minimize the environmental impact of transportation.” Grizzle, who has co-authored 16 patents with Ford, added, “From a university perspective, the discovery process and seeing your research come to life through real hardware implementation is extremely rewarding in and out of the classroom.”

Ford has strengthened its commitment to even more university collaboration this year. Ford researchers, working with university faculty, have begun submitting their project proposals. Grant winners will be announced in early 2011

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