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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

Dr. Nagarajan inspects safer surfactant
Seed Funding to Reduce Toxics

TURI awarded two grants to UMass Lowell faculty in 2013 to conduct research that identifies and tests less hazardous substances used in industry.

  • Getting the Lead Out ā€“ Assoc. Prof. Zhiyong Gu in Chemical Engineering is working to create a new type of lead- and halogen-free nanosolder paste for use in next-generation electronics assembly and manufacturing of computers, cell phones, automobiles, satellites and medical devices such as heart pacemakers.
  • Formaldehyde-free Phenolic Novolac Resin ā€“ Assoc. Prof. Ramaswamy Nagarajan in Plastics Engineering will test naturally occurring sugars to replace formaldehyde, a known irritant and potential cancer hazard, in phenolic resins used in wood adhesives, laminates and coatings and bonded and coated abrasives.

Read more: Researchers Get TURI Funding to Develop Greener Materials 

2014/2015 Academic Research Grant RFP Now Available!

Every year we provide seed funding to faculty in the UMass system to initiate research that will lead to new opportunities for companies to reduce their use of toxic chemicals. Since its inception this program has provided over $1,500,000 in funding, supporting more than 105 graduate and doctoral level students. The seed funding helps UMass researchers gain additional funding to find safer alternatives.

For example, Assoc. Prof. Zhiyong Gu and an interdisciplinary team received $460K from the National Science Foundation to develop lead-free soldering for the microelectronics and semiconductor industry. It has also lead to national recognition of the research being done and the students at UMass. Read the Lowell Sun story A Greener Clean: From fruit peels and algae, UML team works to create less-toxic detergent.

The research has contributed to industry adoption of toxics use reduction, has resulted in patents and commercial products, and has contributed to TURI's goal of reducing the use of toxic chemicals to promote safer worker and environmental health.