May 29, 2009 12:00AM
The Kansas Polymer Research Center at Pittsburg State University has honored one of its largest corporate partners with a dedication ceremony officially named one of the center's labs after the company.
Representatives from Cargill, Inc., an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services, was on hand May 28 at PSU's Tyler Research Center for the official naming ceremony of the KPRC's largest research lab. The new Cargill Lab, located on the west end of the second floor, is the lab primarily used for Cargill research.
Pittsburg State University and Cargill have been partners since 2003, when the two signed a joint development agreement in the pursuit of research toward the development of soy-based polyols for the polyurethane industry. The agreement, which will last for at least another two years, has resulted in the groundbreaking development of a new line of soy-polyols, which are being marketed and sold around the world. In six years, Cargill has contributed nearly $5 million for KPRC research efforts.
"For a long time, we've wanted to recognize what happened when Cargill and PSU signed the joint development agreement," said Steve Robb, director of the KPRC and PSU's Business and Technology Institute. "Their contribution to our work has been significant. It has been an incredible corporate relationship."
In addition to the soy-polyol development, the research that scientists have performed for Cargill has resulted in five patents on various types of polyols, with five more pending. The polyols have created a basis for eco-friendly foams for furniture and bedding, as well as flooring and automotive applications. This work led to PSU and Cargill's joint receipt of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2007.
"The partnership between Cargill and the KPRC has flourished for all these years because of the mutual respect that exists between our team and PSU," said Cargill business unit manager Yusuf Warzizda, who spoke at the event along with PSU President Tom Bryant.
Robb said the support of Cargill has been invaluable.
"Corporate partnerships are so important to universities," Robb said. "It's been more than financial - it has put us on the world map and has given us world recognition."