Cooperative innovation key to breakthroughs
By David Johnson, University of Oregon
University of Oregon
David Johnson is a professor of solid state and inorganic chemistry, electrochemistry and materials science at the University of Oregon and a member of the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry. He collaborated on this article with Matt Cooper, UO communications specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It all started on the golf course.
It was 2007, and Oregon State University chemistry professor Doug Keszler was on the links with University of Oregon chemistry professor Darren Johnson. Instead of hooks and slices, they were talking cluster compounds and the fabrication of thin films for electronic devices.
Just like that, an idea was born.
The UO has long wanted to optimize device performance and create a new green technology, but we knew that research for research’s sake wouldn’t draw the federal and state funding necessary for breakthroughs. But a collaboration between UO and OSU researchers — partnering with business and investment interests — produced a research entity that doubles as one of Oregon’s most successful startups: The Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, formerly the Center for Green Materials Chemistry.
The center expands on solution-based chemistry, allowing electronics manufacturers to make high-performance devices while reducing waste.
In the contest for National Science Foundation funding necessary to create the center, it was clear that the UO and OSU would have to combine talents and disregard school colors to compete. Allen Alley, who has helped Oregon focus on research with real-world applications through creation of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, noted that the budget of the main campus of Purdue University was roughly that of the entire Oregon University System.
Fortunately, when we combine our skills with a firm assessment of the market’s direction, opportunities arise. So says Dave Chen, former chairman of ONAMI, which brought together the team behind the center.
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