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BASF and Harvard University announce extensive research collaboration

Cambridge, MA and Ludwigshafen, Germany-October 24, 2007-Harvard University's Office of Technology Development (OTD) and BASF today announced an agreement to jointly establish the BASF Advanced Research Initiative.

While based at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) the initiative will benefit from having strong ties with departments and schools throughout the University.

Set up as a fully collaborative, integrated partnership among Harvard and BASF researchers, the agreement represents a novel model for university-industry collaborations and is designed to foster a vibrant and dynamic intellectual exchange.

As outlined in the agreement, BASF will provide direct funding to Harvard researchers, support initially 10 postdoctoral students. Total funding over the next five years is anticipated to be up to $20 million.

Both parties plan to define and pursue projects in areas including, applied physics, physics, applied mathematics, chemical biology, systems biology, bioengineering, and materials science. If proof of concept is established in a research project, BASF will have the opportunity to further develop discoveries and innovations for possible commercialization.

Initial topics for investigation include:

  • Targeting new and improved concepts to deliver active ingredient molecules to a specific place where they develop activity in a controlled manner. The active molecules will be combined with suitably structured polymer systems in the form of particles, cremes, or powders. Such formulations have potential applications in pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, cosmetics, food, and feed;

  • Understanding the formation of biofilms (surface associated microbial communities) and deriving new strategies to inhibit or limit their growth by modifying surfaces and materials. The control and elimination of such microbes is critical for clinical and industrial settings;

  • Exploring new chemical approaches to processes and materials like exploring carbon dioxide chemistry.

"We must be as innovative in funding and translating research as we are in conducting it. By establishing the BASF Advanced Research Initiative at Harvard, we can bolster our existing excellence in basic and applied research, and develop new ways to bring research out of the lab," said Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Dean, SEAS, John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor, and Professor of Physics.

"We are delighted to be working together with one of the world's most respected universities for science and engineering," said Dr. Stefan Marcinowski, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF Aktiengesellschaft and Executive Research Director. "We expect this initiative to generate new and unconventional innovations, which can lead to future products that are relevant to the needs of society."

BASF's Dr. Jens Rieger, scientific director of Polymer Research, and Harvard's David Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, and George Whitesides, Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, will direct the initiative. Rieger collaborates with Weitz to establish a broad-based research network composed of faculty and students in laboratories located throughout Harvard. Faculty investigators will have the freedom to distribute and publish any findings arising from the initiative's research efforts.


Contact: Kristen Collins
Harvard University

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