Part I of CUMIRP retains the NSF-I/UCRC format in which the research cost and results are shared with other members in a focused, team-oriented approach. Research Clusters, targeted toward specific research areas, allow small team dynamics to facilitate interactions and collaboration between Industry Sponsors and University Faculty, Staff and Students. Members of CUMIRP Part I can choose which cooperative research areas (Clusters) they wish to support with their membership. Part I members can obtain a non-exclusive, royalty free license to a University patent resulting from the research done in their specific Research Cluster. Other benefits include invitations to: the member-specific Cluster meetings, the bi-annual meetings featuring topical recent advances in polymer science and engineering, the annual UMass Polymer Poster Symposium and the various Materials Research Science & Engineering Center (MRSEC) meetings and workshops.
CUMIRP also assists Sponsors in recruiting future employees from the department’s graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. CUMIRP Part I has structured its fee schedule to be accessible to all sized companies, and encourages small and mid-sized companies to participate. Membership dues for the Part I Clusters are $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 for small (<$100 M sales), medium ($100 M - $1 B sales) and large companies (>$1 B sales), respectively. This dues schedule, along with a 40% discount for a second research cluster membership and additional discounts for the Membership-at-Large option, makes Industry participation an affordable and attractive investment for accessing the leading edge polymer research at the University of Massachusetts. The sharing of research and patent costs by Cluster members allows for a tremendous leveraging of a sponsor’s membership dues. Industrial Sponsors from all sized companies find the cooperative Research Cluster concept a great value for their research dollar.
Part I offers sponsors a selection of several research clusters. Additional clusters in the Part I (I/UCRC) format will be formed around university core competencies as industrial needs dictate.
Research Cluster A - Adhesion at Living Interfaces
Alfred Crosby and Duncan Irschick, Coordinators
Cluster A focuses on the adhesion of interfaces between synthetic materials and complex substrates, including skin. A major aim is uncovering the properties characteristic of such interfaces as a function of time and size scale through the implementation of traditional and novel characterization methods. Principles learned from evolution and natural variation of living materials surfaces and interfaces will be used to create new materials that provide desirable multi-functional and robust interfaces, especially with living systems.
Research Cluster B - Polymers in Drug Delivery and the BioArena
Maria Santore and Gregory Tew, Coordinators
Cluster B focuses on developing fundamental insight into the complexities of the interface between biological systems, medical sciences and synthetic materials interactions, thus facilitating the discovery of novel technologies, smart materials, and innovative treatment modalities for disease. Materials interact chemically with biomolecules while cell-material contact and signal transduction to the cell interior is governed by both biochemical and mechanical signals. Research within the cluster explores and exploits molecular-, cell-, and tissue- level interactions on surfaces, at interfaces and in bulk biomaterials. The broad interests of this cluster include Targeted Drug Delivery and Drug Delivery Carriers, Surfaces for Controlled Cell Interactions, BioInert and Bio-targeting Surfaces, Polymers with Protein-like Bioactivity, and Coupling Novel Chemistries to Mechanical Response.
Research Cluster E - Polymers in Renewable Energy
E. Bryan Coughlin and S. "Thai" Thayumanavan, Coordinators
The mission of Cluster E is to provide an industry conduit to research involving polymers for clean energy harvesting, conversion and storage. Current research areas focus on advanced materials for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells and on organic photovoltaic materials for tunable, higher efficiency solar cells. This industry cluster leverages several large federally-funded energy related research initiatives involving a total of 26 principal researchers from four departments at UMass Amherst.
Research Cluster F - Fire-Safe Polymers and Composites
Todd Emrick and E. Bryan Coughlin, Coordinators
Funded initially by the Federal Aviation Administration, sponsors and faculty collaborate in the production of fire-safe polymeric materials for all applications. Research concentrates on the design and synthesis of polymers to yield fire-safe materials with high mechanical performance properties, especially for aircraft interiors.
Research Cluster M - Mechanics & Advanced Manufacturing of Polymers and Composites
Alan Lesser, Coordinator
The goal of this research cluster is to develop a new set of theoretical and experimental tools that enable the streamlined design, selection, and evaluation of polymeric materials. The research initiatives in this cluster focus on determining what basic characteristics define the engineering performance of polymers and polymer-based composites. Both the materials and applications studied in this cluster will be guided by the cluster members.
Research Cluster N - Nanostructured Materials
Ryan Hayward and Kenneth Carter, Coordinators
Cluster N focuses on fabrication and characterization of polymer- based nanostructured materials. The expertise and interests of participants include molecular design and synthesis of polymers and nanoparticles, self- and directed-assembly of complex nanostructures, characterization of unique structures and properties of nanoscale materials, and development of state-of-the-art approaches to nanolithography. The combination of polymers and nanoparticles with diverse properties into hierarchically organized materials with precisely controlled structures provides unprecedented opportunities to tailor properties ranging from mechanical to magnetic to optical. The broad interests of this cluster include: photonics, membranes (separations or selective transport), magnetic storage, optoelectronics, displays, sensors, energy (harvesting and storage), nanomedicine, and adaptive or self-healing materials.