As snow began to blanket the State College area on Thursday, Morgan Advanced Materials celebrated the grand opening of its multi-million-dollar Carbon Science Centre of Excellence research and development facility in Innovation Park.
The 30,000-square-foot lab is a partnership between Morgan Advanced Materials — a “global leader” in advanced materials science and engineering of ceramics, carbon and composites headquartered in the U.K. — and Penn State. The Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County and the Governor’s Action Team from the department of community and economic development also played key roles in recruiting Morgan to the university, according to a press release.
Morgan’s products influence a variety of industries, including health care, petrochemicals, transportation, electronics, energy, security and industrial. The company, according to its website, has about 85 manufacturing sites in more than 30 countries. It employs about 8,800 people and serves customers in more than 100 countries.
The new facility will be used, primarily, for materials research work, literally developing new materials and also improving existing materials, said Phil Armstrong, lead for the Carbon Science Centre of Excellence.
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Andy Goshe, Morgan’s global technical director for Electrical Carbon, said Penn State is a natural collaboration partner for the business.
The company’s purpose is to use advanced materials to help make better use of the world’s resources and improve quality of life, Morgan Advanced Materials CEO Pete Raby said.
“For me, Penn State is a clear leader in material science, and, I have to say as well, they have a refreshingly pragmatic approach to (business),” he said. “When we took those two things together, it was an absolute no-brainer for us to open our (Centre of Excellence) here.”
Nick Jones, Penn State executive vice president and provost, said industry partnerships like this one are what the university envisioned when it launched its Invent Penn State initiative.
“Penn State is leading the way in economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Pennsylvania, and enterprises such as Morgan Advanced Materials are helping us to do that,” he said.
Morgan Advanced Materials has already made 14 “pivotal” hires at the “cutting-edge” facility, four of whom are Penn Staters, Jones said, adding that he anticipates that more will come, as will opportunities for internships and engaged scholarship experiences for Penn State students.
“This is a long-term investment for us. It’s not something we undertook lightly, and we are very committed to both working on short-term projects that are going to support us in the development of ... new materials for our existing business, but also to allow us to get into some of those longer-term discovery projects that are really going to get us new platforms for the future,” Raby said.