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The requirement to have an industrial partner ensures that I have a reality check on the work ā€“ and while it means more effort up front to establish the right relationships, in the end this is really helpful because it allows me to have some confidence that what Iā€™m doing is as practical and relevant to real-world needs as possible.
- Daniel Schmidt of UMass Lowell Plastics Engineering

Academic Research Grants

TURI Symposium

TURI provides seed funding for UMass faculty and their graduate students to conduct research related to toxics use reduction. The deadline for this year's proposals has passed. However, we encourage you to discuss project ideas with Pam Eliason now to prepare for applying for next year's grants. View this year's grant overview and request for proposals. 

Research projects are intended to help Massachusetts companies develop solutions for some of the more challenging uses of toxic chemicals ā€“ therefore we seek the involvement of Massachusetts companies as industry partners for these academic research projects. Academic researchers benefit from solving real world problems through their research and provide invaluable training for next generation engineers and scientists. Industry partners benefit by having highly skilled researchers work on their toxics use reduction problems at no cost.

Who's Eligible

Faculty researchers who:

  • Are teaching and/or conducting research at one of the five UMass campuses (Amherst, Lowell, Dartmouth, Boston or Worcester), and;
  • Have a master's or doctoral level student candidate who will be dedicated to the research project for one academic year

Research Focus Areas

Identifying industry research needs that can result in important innovations for industry sectors of particular relevance to Massachusetts is an important service TURI provides when choosing academic research projects to fund. TURI therefore seeks proposals on projects of particular relevance to Massachusetts companies, including research and development of new processes, materials and/or chemicals that can significantly reduce or eliminate the use of toxic chemicals for specific applications.

This year, TURI has worked with the Massachusetts companies below on identifying specific research needs. These companies would serve as industry partners for any faculty proposals submitted to address one of the identified research projects.

  • Camco Manufacturing, Leominster: Research alternative chemicals to methanol for use in windshield washer fluid formulations.
  • Waters Corporation, Milford: Research safer solvents to replace tetrahydrofuran as the mobile phase solvent in gel permeation chromatography instruments.
  • Mexichem Specialty Compounds, Leominster: Research alternative wire and cable jacketing compounds for riser applications that reduce or eliminate the need for antimony trioxide synergists without increasing the amount of halogenated flame retardants used.
  • MD Stetson Co., Inc., Randolph: Study the efficacy of mechanical methods versus chemical disinfectant methods in sanitizing hard, non-porous surfaces.

TURI is particularly interested in identifying research opportunities associated with the development of safer alternatives to chemicals that have been designated as higher hazard substances (HHS) under TURA. The current list of HHS includes:

  • Cadmium and its compounds
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Perchloroethylene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hexavalent chromium
  • Methylene chloride
  • 1-Bromopropane (n-Propyl bromide)
  •  Hydrogen fluoride
  • Cyanide compounds
  •  Dimethyl formamide

Company Participation

TURI identifies companies that have specific research needs to participate in this program. These companies agree to provide sufficient information on their research requirements for inclusion in the next Request for Proposal. Information TURI requests from Massachusetts companies includes: 

  • The toxic chemical to be addressed 
  • How the toxic chemical is currently used (i.e. specific application) 
  • The desired functionality/properties provided by the chemical 
  • The quantities of chemical used in the facility (i.e. per product, per batch, etc.) 
  • Toxics use reduction options for this chemical that have been identified and evaluated to date 
  • Research assistance sought from UMass researchers , such as: identification of new chemicals/materials that may be used as a substitute; assistance with product reformulation; testing/evaluating a revised product or process
  • Testing methods, customer and industry requirements for new process/product solutions
  • Assistance the company could provide to UMass faculty during their research efforts, such as: material samples; access to production equipment; access to test equipment/environment

Applying for an Academic Research Grant

TURI publishes the academic research Request for Proposals (RFP) to UMass faculty in April of each calendar year. Proposals for academic research grants must be completed in accordance with the Academic Research Grants RFP for that academic year. Recommendations for funding are provided by a review panel consisting of TURI staff along with industry and government experts. Funded research is conducted between September and July.

For more information contact: Pam Eliason, Industry Research Program Manager at 978-934-3142 or pam@turi.org.