By: Anna Zarra Aldrich, Office of the Vice President of Research
UConn, the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell), and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) announced a collaboration to establish SHAP3D, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC), to address emerging challenges of additive manufacturing, also commonly referred to as 3D printing.
IUCRCs bridge the gap between early academic research and commercial readiness, supporting use-inspired research leading to new knowledge, technological capabilities and downstream commercial applications of these technologies.
“This Center will address the grand challenges that prevent the entire 3D printing field from moving forward,” says Joey Mead, Distinguished University Professor and David and Frances Pernick Nanotechnology Professor in the Department of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell. Mead serves as the center director of the Center for Science of Heterogeneous Additive Printing of 3D Materials (SHAP3D).
“Our vision is to establish a synergistic national network of excellence in additive manufacturing knowledge, experience and facilities that will add value to the additive manufacturing industry, which is expected to top $20 billion within the next five years.”
The three universities, each serving as a site, are working cooperatively as SHAP3D, one of nearly 75 IUCRCs nationwide, to conduct pre-competitive research that will guide future technologies in 3D printing. The NSF funding supports the partnership, universities provide the research infrastructure and talent, and industry partners provide research funding and guide university researchers on industrially relevant projects. All members vote on the research areas the center should pursue, and research is conducted at university sites.