The University of Connecticut and General Electric have agreed to collaborate on a $7.5 million program to improve technologies related to the distribution of energy.
Gov. Dannel Malloy, UConn President Susan Herbst and a top GE executive held a press conference to announce the program — only part of GE’s partnership with the university.
GE’s Industrial Solutions arm has had a longstanding informal relationship with UConn – 50 of the engineers at its Plainville headquarters are UConn alums. But Tuesday’s announcement strengthens the link – the company’s investment includes an endowed professorship in the School of Engineering and student fellowships and sponsorships.
Herbst calls it a big vote of confidence in the university.
“Clearly GE recognizes that UConn has the intellectual horsepower and the research capabilities to help them expand their business and move new innovative products into the marketplace.”
Initially those products will be all about electrical circuit breakers, a field where GE is keen to develop new technology. Bob Gilligan, CEO of GE’s Industrial Solutions business, says the partnership will be practical.
“This is really the heart of our business. We see an opportunity to create a leading position in the industry and dramatically grow our global share position by leading in the technology that’s resident in our products.”
The cash will also fund GE-directed research in advanced materials and advanced manufacturing. Former dean of the school of engineering and now interim provost, Mun Choi says there will be economic benefits for the state.
“There’s no doubt that we will be making new discoveries in materials, new discoveries in power distribution and circuit technologies. These are technologies that will be developed in the United States, manufactured by Americans, that will lead to more job growth for this region.”
UConn hopes that it can foster more of these direct links to industry as it gears up to open its new technology park, slated to be in operation in 2015.
— WNPR Business Editor Harriet Jones contributed to this report.