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ASU Research Park event boosts ASU-industry connections


Connect at ASU Research Park event booths

The inaugural Connect at ASU Research Park event was held Nov. 14. Photo courtesy ASU Business and Finance Communications

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November 27, 2017

On Nov. 14, ASU Research Park tenants and students met for the Inaugural Connect @ ASU Research Park event. ASU Events and Research Park staff organized the networking experience to showcase the park’s research and development companies and build relationships with ASU departments.

“The ASU Research Park enhances Valley economic development, advances the power of the university’s knowledge and provides students and companies unique research opportunities,” said Morgan R. Olsen, ASU executive vice president, treasurer, CFO and research park board president. “Today the park houses nearly 6,000 people who work at 52 companies.”

Near the 320-acre park’s entrance in Tempe off Loop 101 and Warner Road, the following ASU schools and departments and park tenants gathered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to build connections, share ideas and enjoy free food truck fare 

• ASU Graduate Admissions

• Diversant

• Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

• PADT, Inc.

• QESST Solar Power Lab

• Sun Devil Athletics

• University Sustainability Practices

• Versum Materials

• W. P. Carey School of Business MBA

An employee of JLL, the facility manager at the ASU MacroTechnology Works building at the park, connected with ASU Sustainability Operations staff during the event about how JLL can incorporate more sustainable office practices on its property. MTW allows ASU to advance research in partnership with private industry. MTW was constructed and used by Motorola in 1997 for the semiconductor industry and has offices, wet and dry labs, clean rooms, and high bay space.

MTW also houses QESST (Quantum Energy and Sustainability Solar Technologies). The engineering research center is part of the ASU Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. Alex Killam, an ASU electrical engineering PhD candidate at the QESST Solar Power Lab, provided insight into community engagement that occurs during the summer QESST research experience.

“We host a 'Research Enrichment' program for undergraduates, teachers, high school students, and veterans here at SPL,” Killam said. “I personally mentored the Research Enrichment for Teachers this past summer. Some teachers helped develop solar lesson plans that they could implement in their classes. These lesson plans were integrated with some of our own in a solar outreach and education handbook.”

“A major goal of our research center is to educate the general public of solar technology, and this program had a large impact in addressing this,” he said. “Many of our students pursue advanced engineering degrees after their summer experiences. Some have reported that this is a direct result of the program.”

Mark S. Bailly works with Killam at SPL. The ASU electrical engineering graduate research associate said the SPL also could give students an edge when it comes to being printed in research publications since the lab has the only student-led pilot line in the U.S. for silicon solar cells.

Park tenant PADT, Inc., displayed reengineered parts made by a 3-D printer. An engine mount was represented in three product phases, which depicted its evolution to become a stronger part created with fewer materials.

Eric Miller, PADT principal and co-founder, noted the company employs up to four ASU student interns during the summer and has three students presently employed.

“Most recently, our interns have been focused on 3-D printing and numerical simulation,” Miller said.

Not only do ASU students serve as PADT interns, but one of its former employees now is an ASU associate professor. Dhruv Bhate, who previously worked for PADT, now teaches at ASU and has collaborated on projects with students including 3-D-printed lattice research.

Melissa Scott, property manager for the park for Sunbelt Holdings and co-organizer the event, said electronics materials company Versum Materials connected with ASU engineering representatives for its spring intern program.

“I am thrilled that meaningful connections were made at the event,” Scott said. “The prospect of future university-industry contacts is exciting to me as we continue to accelerate the connections between Research Park tenants and ASU.”

For more information about the ASU Research Park, contact Heidi Kimball, Sunbelt Holdings senior vice president.

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