Clemson University to Establish Automotive Research Center

Clemson University to Establish Automotive Research CenterCLEMSON, S.C.
Clemson University has announced plans to develop a 400-acre automotive research campus to make South Carolina a hub of the nation’s automotive and motor-sports industry. The project already has generated $90 million in state and private support, including commitments from BMW and IBM.
 Set to open in 2005, the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research will be the home of a new graduate engineering education center, research and testing facilities, and private industry research and development operations, supporting the region’s growing automotive industry cluster. 
 BMW Manufacturing of South Carolina will be the first non-academic tenant on the campus, planning to occupy an Information Technology Research Center to be built adjacent to Clemson’s graduate school. The 84,000-square-foot center will support research on improving automotive software systems and software/hardware compatibility for BMW products.
“We believe Clemson University can become a leader in the automotive systems engineering field, helping BMW stay in the forefront and maintain its high standards of performance and reliability,” says Dr. Helmut Leube, president of BMW Manufacturing Corp.
 The $15 million facility will be owned by Clemson. BMW would lease space in the research center. State funding to build the center represents part of an incentive package offered to BMW last year when the company announced an additional investment of $400 million and creation of 400 new jobs over the next several years. Last year, BMW donated $10 million to Clemson to help endow the graduate engineering center.
Clemson has plans to recruit nine faculty and up to 50 graduate students, who are expected to generate at least $5 million a year in research support. The graduate programs will focus on systems integration, addressing a growing challenge in the automotive industry as car components become increasingly computerized and complex.
“You need people who understand a range of disciplines and know how to put them together. That’s where Clemson comes in,” says Dr. Imtiaz Haque, chair of Clemson’s mechanical engineering department. 



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