MSU Exploring Partnerships with Composites Manufacturers

Mississippi State University Researchers and leaders in the transportation industry gathered recently at the University to explore the possibilities of a technology that is revolutionising the design, production and use of land, air and sea vehicles.

Participants were eager to discuss how to overcome barriers using composite materials by creating partnerships that serve manufacturing needs and research interests.

Although I was an early skeptic, I now understand that composites are literally the fuel upon which all our modern vehicle systems are going to be made, the low-end of the job market for unmanned vehicles will be somewhere around 90,000 jobs and $40 billion; the high-end is hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars.
Maj. Gen. James O. Poss Director of strategic initiatives for MSU’s High Performance Computing

MSU researchers are already researching and developing composites, and significant advantages can be realised through partnerships among educational institutions, the industries producing composites and government organisations advocating composites development.

After presentations from key composites manufacturers and MSU faculty researchers, Ratan Jha, director of the university’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, explained his vision for conference participants: to create a long-term partnership among composites stakeholders.

The main goal of this gathering is to learn what industry leaders think about the research initiatives being accomplished at university level, composites are complex. You who deal with composites in industry know that very well. None of the synthesis, modeling or manufacturing for composites is straightforward.

Jha proposed industries represented at the symposium consider forming an Industry and University Cooperative Research Program (I/UCRC) with MSU as the lead site and at least one other postsecondary institution. While the National Science Foundation would provide some start-up money.

Partnering industries would fund the research initiatives that would best serve their business interests, moving forward, industry representatives agreed they would discuss possible partnership plans, and MSU leaders agreed they would begin working on a proposal.

More than 70 attendees represented 16 laboratories, institutes or industries; three postsecondary institutions, including MSU, the University of Alabama and East Mississippi Community College; and seven states: Alabama, Colorado, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee, at the daylong event on the Starkville campus.

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