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UT Austin receives $1 million grant from 3M Foundation for education and research

Three programs within The University of Texas at Austin will share a $1 million grant from the 3M Foundation designed to enhance a relationship that blends academics and business practices.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Three programs within The University of Texas at Austin will share a $1 million grant from the 3M Foundation designed to enhance a relationship that blends academics and business practices.The 3M support, which includes cash and in-kind donations, will be used for education and research initiatives in the College of Engineering, Graduate School of Business and the IC2 Institute. The funds are scheduled to be provided over a four-year period from 1997-2000.

The grant program was developed to support education and research relevant to 3M business units and strategies. Leo Dunn, staff vice president at 3M Austin, was instrumental in getting the grant approved by the foundation.”Since 3M’s arrival in Austin, we have worked closely with The University of Texas at Austin to develop mutually beneficial relationships. This grant is a strong affirmation of the continuing value of these relationships,” Dunn said.Within the College of Engineering, the grant will serve two areas. One would foster a unique collaboration between the 3M and UT research disciplines in air pollution prevention and control, enabling the University to reconfigure existing laboratories for air resources engineering research, purchase specialized equipment and provide programmatic support for specific research.The Center for Materials Science and Engineering also will receive funds to conduct research in conjunction with 3M on development of materials for the microelectronics industry.

In the Graduate School of Business, the grant funds and in-kind donations of multimedia projectors and fiber optics products will be used to create a Center for Customer Insight that will develop centers of excellence for the development and dissemination of knowledge and collaboration with corporations.The IC2 Institute, which focuses on technology in commercialization and innovation, will use the funds for a global classroom, an executive innovation “boot camp” and a global innovation and commercialization curriculum. With the grant, IC2 will be able to share its expertise with the broad industry community through global educational programs.

The boot camp will involve relocating a designated group of 3M employees and employees from other corporations to the IC2 Institute, where they will be challenged to develop entrepreneurial thinking and conduct business at a faster rate.

Larry Lollar, vice president for development at UT Austin, said, “This has become a model for other corporate donors. It’s a hands-on approach, where 3M has literally designated knowledgeable staff to be liaisons, or ‘champions,’ for each of the schools. This enables both the company and the University to benefit by knowing more about what the other is doing.”

Russell Bridges, government and community affairs manager for 3M, said, “This is an exciting investment in three areas of excellence at UT. The 3M role is to nurture the growth of programs that can be beneficial to the business world and the University.”

For additional information, contact Kristin Larson, UT Austin Development Office, (512) 475-9682.