Kent State University Invests in Flexible Electronics Research to Bolster Regional Economic DevelopmentPosted May. 30, 2012
Vice President for Research at Kent State University, Grant McGimpsey, announced today that the university will seek to further develop its unique know-how and skills in flexible electronics technology by directing new investments into the university’s facilities, capabilities, and research expertise, both within the Liquid Crystal Institute and more broadly across the university.
“The university recognizes our unique leadership position in flexible electronic materials research and development, not only in Ohio but around the world”, said McGimpsey. “With our leadership role comes a major responsibility to continue our ground-breaking research, create new technologies and products, and to play a significant part in the revitalization of our regional manufacturing and high tech economies. Laying the groundwork for job creation in the high tech sector should continue to be our highest priority.”
Over 40 years ago, researchers at Kent State University invented the liquid crystal display technology that is now ubiquitous across the world in a wide variety of consumer electronics products from video screens to cell phones and many others. While this particular application for liquid crystal technology has matured, the physical nature of liquid crystals provides a tremendous opportunity to create a new technology, a new industry, and new prominence for the state in the electronics industry.
“Research at Kent State is now focused on the production of new, light-weight, flexible and strong materials to replace the heavier, rigid and breakable devices of the current generation,” McGimpsey explained. “In the process, we will drive the creation of a new generation of displays, photovoltaics, sensors, medical devices and other products that will lead to economic development and job creation here in Northeast Ohio and across the state.”
“We are particularly interested in developing flexible electronic device technologies for products that can be manufactured right here in Ohio”, McGimpsey said. “We believe that by focusing on high value, high margin product applications particularly in the energy and medical technologies sectors, we can build and keep high paying jobs in Ohio.”
To support this enhanced emphasis, Kent State is undertaking a series of initiatives including significant upgrades to the Liquid Crystal Institute’s research and prototyping facility, the support of industry-university sponsored research student fellowships, the support of post-doctoral researchers and aggressive engagement with industry. The Division of Research and Sponsored Programs has established and staffed a new Office of Corporate Engagement and Commercialization and will sponsor corporate forums and technical symposia in the flexible electronics area.
In April, the university hosted a corporate roundtable and research meeting on photovoltaics and in September will be hosting an international meeting on flexible liquid crystal technologies. The meeting, scheduled for September 26-27, will provide a platform for discussion of major new developments in flexible electronics and will also include a visioning roundtable on the applications of flexible electronics in medical technologies such as sensors and implanted devices.
“It is important to note that partnerships have been important in Kent State’s development of this new technology area,” McGimpsey added. “We have close relationships with other academic institutions and with local companies who not only have licensed our technologies, but have allowed us to work with them to further advance these technologies. These private-public partnerships are crucial to our goals as a university to create jobs and further regional economic development.”
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Grant McGimpsey, email@example.com, 330-672-3012