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Academic Research Grants

TURI Symposium

Research projects are intended to help Massachusetts companies develop solutions for some of the more challenging uses of toxic chemicals – 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. Contact Greg Morose to discuss your project ideas.

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.

The maximum funding amount for each research project is $25,000 and project proposals typically fall within the $20,000 to $25,000 range. This program emphasizes the importance of graduate student engagement, and the bulk of the funding provided is intended to compensate graduate students actively involved in the research over the course of the academic year. 

Project Examples

This year's projects include:

Assistant Professor James Reuther of the Chemistry Department at UMass Lowell aims to find a safer and more effective nail polish remover for methacrylate-based gel nail polish. Gel nails are popular with customers due to a harder surface that reduces chipping and extends nail polish life. However, the removal of the polish requires application of acetone remover for up to 15 minutes. Acetone can cause serious eye irritation, drowsiness and dizziness; chronic exposure to acetone-based nail removers may damage the central nervous system and renal system.

Professor Ram Nagarajan of the Department of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell is partnering with Bradford Industries of Lowell for a second year to find and evaluate safer solvent blends to replace the use of the toxic solvent dimethylformamide (DMF). In the first phase of the project, the research team identified combinations of safer and effective solvents that dissolve the target polymer used by the company. The goal of the second phase is to vary the relative ratios of solvents in the mixtures to meet the company’s performance and cost requirements.

Assistant Professor Hsi-Wu Wong of the Department of Chemical Engineering at UMass Lowell is partnering with Waters Corporation of Milford for a second year to continue identifying and testing the performance of safer solvents used in liquid chromatography equipment. The new formulations will replace the harmful solvents currently in use, including methanol, acetonitrile and tetrahydrofuran.



The requirement to have an industrial partner ensures that I have a reality check on the research. This is really helpful because it allows me to have confidence that what I’m doing is as practical and relevant to real-world needs as possible.
- Prof. Daniel Schmidt of UMass Lowell Plastics Engineering Dept.