MSU partnering with South Koreans to research auto manufacturing

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State University is officially partnering with a South Korean entity, which has a complementary research mission with the university’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems.

MSU provost and executive vice president Jerry Gilbert signed a memorandum of understanding, along with Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) Incheon Region Division CEO Sang-Mok Lee.

The alliance will allow CAVS and KITECH to support global manufacturers’ efforts to develop products and train employees for their facilities in the southeastern United States. Because South Korean companies, including carmakers like Hyundai and Kia, have located in the region, other Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers are also investing in the region. KITECH serves as a research and development resource for small and medium enterprises, such as these suppliers.

The agreement establishes the KITECH-CAVS Center for Root Technologies. ‘Root technology’ refers to several key technologies of the manufacturing industry — casting, molding, forming, surface treatment, thermal treatment, and welding/joining technologies, and any related fields.

“We were hoping that this day would come soon. We were delighted to make the agreement while we were at KITECH, and we’re so happy that we are following through in this formal way,” Gilbert said, referring back to an international trip he and other senior university officials took earlier in the year to develop more collaborative projects with partners abroad.

“KITECH’s mission and our mission are so complementary. We thought this was a natural partnership that we need to make flourish,” said Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw.

CAVS is a premier research entity within the Bagley College of Engineering. Dean Sarah Rajala said the research and economic impact produced by the center and their extension office has garnered prestigious national awards.

Specifically, MSU and KITECH will encourage direct contact and cooperation between their faculty and research staffs. They also will jointly execute research projects, as well as facilitate personnel exchanges.

Roger King, CAVS director and endowed chair, said the center is KITECH’s manufacturing research partner in the U.S.  They also fund research with partners in Germany, China and Japan.

“This partnership will be a driving force behind new industry creation for the region as well as technological innovation,” King said.

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