UCSB Engineering

April 26, 2010

UCSB and Mitsubishi Chemical Extend Partnership

Center for Advanced Materials to receive nearly $6 Million over four years

Glenn Fredrickson

Santa Barbara, Calif., April 26 and Tokyo, April 27, 2010—Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation of Tokyo and UC Santa Barbara today announced that they are extending their successful materials research and education alliance for a new term of four years, beginning September 1. Under the terms of the renewal agreement, Mitsubishi Chemical, the largest chemical company in Japan, will invest nearly $6 million at UCSB over the next four years.

The Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials (MC-CAM) at UCSB was established in 2001, and rapidly established itself as a prolific and efficient research unit. Over its first eight years, MC-CAM produced 85 publications and 60 disclosed inventions—one of the highest ratios of inventions to papers of any university-based research program worldwide. The center has also been very efficient in its technology generation: its cost per patent is $300,000, significantly below the averages of $500K for technology companies and $2.4M for research universities.

Directed by Glenn Fredrickson, a professor of chemical engineering and materials, MC-CAM is affiliated with UCSB's College of Engineering and its Materials Research Laboratory, a national center supported by the National Science Foundation. The UCSB center maintains a portfolio of research projects that are selected and shaped by a steering committee of 10 members (five from each partner) from proposals submitted by UCSB researchers and scientists from Mitsubishi Chemical.

"Our partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical, under the visionary leadership of Glenn Fredrickson, is a wonderful example of a very successful and enduring relationship between industry and academia. It’s been very beneficial for both of us and for the entire world," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “It’s been a model university-industry collaboration and, most notably, one that spans the Pacific. We are grateful to have this relationship reaffirmed by the extension of support for another four years.”

The University of California owns inventions developed by university employees that derive from the research funded by Mitsubishi Chemical, and the company has first option for exclusive licenses to use the technology. The center's current areas of primary focus are functional, high value materials for solid-state lighting, advanced plastics and elastomers, organic solar cells, and information and energy storage devices.

Initial funding from Mitsubishi Chemical endowed two professorships in the College of Engineering, paid in part for a new wing of the Materials Research Laboratory building in which MC-CAM is housed, and covered an initial five years of operations. In 2006, the center agreement was renewed for four years; provisions of that renewal included support for a permanent endowment of two graduate fellowships in materials and chemical engineering. Funds from this renewal will support research and the administration of the center, and include a philanthropic contribution of $400,000 to continue endowing new graduate fellowships in materials and chemical engineering.

Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, president and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Chemical, said his company has seen a very good return on its investment in the center, both in terms of technology options and licenses and as a research center where many of their own scientists and engineers have spent time advancing their science. "We look forward to the exciting developments we know will take place at the center over the next four years," he said. "We are confident the center will continue to make discoveries that benefit our planet and society as well as contribute to our businesses."

Fredrickson, the center's director, noted that the center provides access to some of the top minds in materials science, including Professor Alan Heeger, one of UCSB’s Nobel Laureates. "Access to our superb body of students and postdoctoral fellows is also an asset,” he noted. “Mitsubishi appreciates that the success of our joint research programs is predicated on the quality of the students that we can attract to UCSB. This is the basis for their ongoing commitment to funding graduate fellowships. In return, the center’s activities have provided a unique, real-world educational experience for the participating students and post-docs.”

"Our Mitsubishi Chemical partner recognizes that we have been able to leverage the company's support with other grants and external funds," he added, “and our efficient application of funds in advancing new materials technologies, of course, continues to be appreciated by the company.”

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The College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara is a global leader in bioengineering, chemical and computational engineering, materials science, nanotechnology, and physics. UCSB boasts five Nobel Laureates (four in sciences and engineering) and one winner of the prestigious international Millennium Technology Prize. Our students, faculty, and staff thrive in a uniquely-successful interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial culture. Our professors’ research is among the most cited by their peers, evidence of the significance and relevance of their work.

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