Northeastern University and Rogers Corporation have announced plans to establish the Rogers Innovation Center at Northeastern’s George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security in Burlington, Mass. This partnership demonstrates the emergence of a new opportunity for university-corporate collaborations aimed at accelerating the commercialization of basic research.
As a global technology leader in advanced materials and components for consumer and power electronics, transportation, telecommunications, and defense systems, Rogers’ expertise closely aligns with Northeastern’s focus on use-inspired research in health, security, and sustainability.
The partnership will allow Northeastern and Rogers to leverage their complementary research and development initiatives in advanced materials. Rogers is a world leader in developing and manufacturing unique, high-performance materials used in high-frequency printed circuits, power electronics, impact protection, and sealing applications. Northeastern brings to the partnership a broad range of materials research expertise in areas as diverse as super strong carbon fibers and metamaterials designed for invisibility cloaking.
“We are incredibly excited about this unique partnership with Rogers Corporation, one that can be a model for how universities and corporations should interact in the future for the benefit of both parties,” said Melvin Bernstein, senior vice provost for research and graduate education at Northeastern. “The benefits of co-locating researchers from both entities include identifying research projects that both meet academic standards and market needs, helping to prepare a skilled workforce and successfully addressing joint and separate intellectual property issues. This partnership provides a template for addressing the national need to better leverage the intellectual prowess and innovative university environment to improve industrial competitiveness.”
Focused on the earliest stages of technical and commercial development, the center will foster a collaborative environment for developing new high-tech materials solutions in close alignment with market needs. Robust communications infrastructure is among the initial application areas targeted by the partnership.
Bob Daigle, chief technology officer for Rogers, commented, “Our team looks forward to collaborating with academic researchers in the entrepreneurial environment being created at the Kostas Institute. Together with Northeastern, we are excited to share capabilities and scientific knowledge to create new materials solutions that will help power, protect, and connect the world in new and better ways.”
To be completed by year-end, the innovation center will be housed in 4,000 square feet of the 70,000-square-foot Kostas Institute and will include laboratories, conference rooms, and office space for both Northeastern faculty members and a core team of R&D, marketing, and new business development professionals from Rogers. The co-location of personnel and the modern “open-office” structure are intended to encourage corporate-academic collaboration, and innovation from basic research through commercialization. The center will also provide a unique opportunity for Northeastern students to gain first-hand insight on the inner workings of industry.
In addition to the research, development, and commercialization activities, Rogers has committed to providing substantial, multi-year funding for Northeastern research programs and graduate student education.