The agreement is the first of its kind for both the university and Caterpillar. The company also signed similar agreements with the University of Illinois and Carnegie-Mellon University.
Although the specific terms of each new research project, such as its cost and the personnel involved, still will be determined case-by-case, the master agreement works out the basic details found in every research contract, including payment schedules, administrative reviews and intellectual property issues. These terms no longer will need to be renegotiated with each new venture. The agreement applies to all 22 of Caterpillar's divisions.
Luis Proenza, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at Purdue, commented: "This strategic partnership is 'win-win' -- that's what strategic means. Each of us -- Purdue and Caterpillar -- will gain significantly. Moreover, our students will have expanded educational and internship opportunities, and our faculty will gain significant experience through fundamental research on real-world problems."
The agreement gives Purdue students the opportunity to take part in more research projects with the company, as well as increased opportunities to interact with Caterpillar personnel through plant visits and internships.
In addition, Caterpillar will get to know the skills of Purdue researchers and have greater access to Purdue facilities, Proenza said. "We've had tremendous interest from the faculty, with 20 or 30 proposals already on the table," he said.
Gerald Palmer, vice president of Caterpillar's technical services division, said: "These agreements are a catalyst to the blending of technical excellence and business issues. We view each university as a strategic partner in our research activities."
Caterpillar's application of virtual reality to wheel loaders and backhoes developed in conjunction with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois resulted from this type of collaboration.
"Working with these universities as extensions of our own research facilities will result in even further technological innovations to our products, ultimately benefiting our customers," Palmer said.
Purdue departments that are involved in the research agreement are engineering, technology, agriculture and agricultural engineering.
Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines, and it is a leading global supplier of diesel engines. Sales and revenues in 1995 exceeded $16 billion.
CONTACT: Proenza, (765) 494-2604; home, (765) 474-8240
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