UNC signs agreement with Eastman Chemical Company worth at least $1.5 million

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is joining Eastman Chemical Company in a master agreement to conduct research in chemistry and materials science.

Eastman will provide a minimum of $1.5 million over six years to support collaborations between Eastman scientists and UNC scientists, staff and students. Those collaborations include research projects, visits to both the UNC campus and Eastman manufacturing facilities and identifying and applying for federal or other funding opportunities.

“We are pleased to be collaborating with Eastman and look forward to the advances in research and technology that we can make together,” said Barbara Entwisle, vice chancellor for research at UNC. “This is a perfect example of how partnerships with industry can benefit both the University and the private sector.”

“We’re excited about the opportunities this partnership brings to Eastman,” said Greg W. Nelson, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Eastman Chemical Company.  “Teaming with a leading university like UNC furthers Eastman’s commitment to world-class open innovation that brings new ideas and technologies to market more quickly than traditional approaches.”

“We are always looking for ways to broaden our relationships and reach creative minds,” added Stewart Witzeman, director of the Eastman Innovation Center. “Our agreement with UNC continues to expand our network of innovation partners. It sets both a model and a tone for how we want to work with others.”

Faculty members from UNC’s department of chemistry will periodically submit research proposals in response to Eastman-developed problem statements or requests for proposals. UNC proposals will then be selected for funding each year by Eastman. The first decisions about the projects are expected to be made in the spring.

“The department of chemistry is excited, pleased and eager to begin this long-term partnership with Eastman,” said Valerie Sheares Ashby, chair of the UNC chemistry department in the College of Arts and Sciences. “We feel that our faculty, postdoctoral associates and students will bring a tremendous amount of expertise and a spirit of innovation to this collaboration, resulting in benefits for Eastman, the department and for each of the researchers involved.”

Eastman’s agreement with UNC follows a similar partnership for cutting-edge research with North Carolina State University. The Eastman Innovation Center will open on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus in spring 2013.