New Innovation Center through Strategic Partnership with the University of Delaware

Chemours builds its new innovation center, The Chemours Discovery Hub, and partners with the University of Delaware on their STAR Campus.

Industry and academia have worked hand in glove for roughly a century now. In fact, based on university innovations, industry introduced roughly 900 new products to the market in 2015, according to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). And over the past 20 years, research institutions have earned more than 80,000 US patents, says AUTM.1

 

Universities and students, meanwhile, benefit from the training and development industry brings to the campus—along with the financial support. These days in particular, such backing is crucial: As of 2015, US government basic research funding had dropped to only 44 percent, from a high of 70 percent in the 1970s.2

For chemical companies, university research can lead to discoveries that in turn, lead to new business. Industry-academia partnerships also benefit society by supporting to the kind of innovation that promises a bold future—one that improves the lives of people everywhere.

To that end, Chemours has announced the development of The Chemours Discovery Hub, its state-of-the-art research facility at the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus of the University of Delaware. Slated for completion by 2020, the $150 million, 29,000-m2 facility will keep 330 research jobs in the Wilmington area and help prime Delaware students for success in science and technology research jobs. It’s a long-term partnership with the university, and it helps Chemours fulfill its promise to meet emerging customer needs, satisfy new market demands, and deliver Higher Value Chemistry. It’s also a substantial investment in the economic health of the state of Delaware and in further strengthening Chemours—a company dedicated to the success of its customers.

A computer rendering shows the new Chemours Discovery Hub on the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus.

Forming bonds

“We’re joining forces with the University of Delaware to spearhead state-of-the-art research,” explains Kevin Leary, Chemours’ Global Technology Director, Titanium Technologies. “We’ll do applied research when needed and fundamental research in areas where the university has more freedom.”

There’s also the people factor. “The partnership will also give us access to really good students,” Leary says. The University of Delaware partnership will be a magnet that attracts the best and brightest scientists and engineers, giving them a place to make their marks. That will serve Chemours as well, helping the company attract top talent. “We’ll have a pipeline of students we can tap into for our future.” Adds Zeru Tekie, Chemours’ Global Technical Director, Fluoroproducts, “We will gain talent from the university. This will help us train the next generation of chemists and engineers.

Chemours’ primary STAR focus will, naturally, be on chemistry and chemical engineering research, Tekie says. Beyond that, “We are looking to collaborate with the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences for physics, material science, and mechanical engineering,” he says. “Many of our programs are going to need expertise in these fields, so we’ll need this key collaboration. We cannot overstate the value and importance of collaboration to innovation. Diverse groups of people bring different perspectives and ideas to solve the same problem.”

The STAR Campus will also give Chemours a site for collective entrepreneurship, one of the company’s core values—a place to invest in chemistry’s future by exploring underleveraged areas of the science. “The STAR Campus will give us a place where we can collaborate among ourselves and with external people,” Leary says. “Everyone will be in one place working together. We’ll be much more effective at what we do.”

 


Headshots of The Chemours Company’s Kevin Leary, Global Technology Director, Titanium Technologies, and Zeru Tekie, Global Technical Director, Fluoroproducts.

Our Expert Corner

Hear from Kevin Leary, Global Technology Director, Titanium Technologies (left), and Zeru Tekie Global Technical Director, Fluoroproducts (right) as they share more on how Chemours’ academic partnerships, such as that with the University of Delaware, help advance innovation and collaboration.

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A headshot of Kevin Leary, Global Technology Director, Titanium Technologies

Kevin Leary

Global Technology Director
Titanium Technologies

The University of Delaware partnership will be a magnet that attracts the best and brightest scientists and engineers, giving them a place to make their marks. That will serve Chemours as well, helping the company attract top talent.

From Wilmington to the world

Ultimately, Chemours doesn’t innovate merely for the sake of innovating. What drives us is our goal of being customer centered—another one of our core company values. STAR helps Chemours make good on that promise.

“The products we make must create value for our customers,” Tekie says. “Working with our customers helps us look ahead to see which products or solutions they need from us. The STAR Campus will help us deliver that.”

From evolving alternative energy storage to creating products able to withstand harsher and harsher environments, Chemours will look to its Discovery Hub on the STAR Campus to help drive progress. With this new facility, we expect to better serve our customers, the university, the Wilmington area, and ultimately our global society.

 

A headshot of Zeru Tekie, Global Technical Director, Fluoroproducts

Zeru Tekie

Global Technical Director
Fluoroproducts

Working with our clients helps us look ahead to see which products or solutions they need from us. The STAR Campus will help us deliver that.

 

 

1“Association of University Technology Managers FY2015 Infographic,” VentureWell, 2015, venturewell.org/wp-content/uploads/AUTM_FY2015_Infographic_FINAL.pdf
2https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/data-check-us-government-share-basic-research-funding-falls-below-50

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