By SUSAN JONES
Last month’s news that Pitt will provide research and workforce development for manufacturers at a proposed hub for additive manufacturing (including 3-D printing) near the midfield terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport was a little unclear about what this really means for the University.
According to the Post-Gazette, Pitt signed a memorandum of understanding with the airport on Oct. 25 to participate in the Neighborhood 91 project. The University is expected to have a presence at the 195-acre site. Neighborhood 91 will be the first site in the world to contain every element of the additive manufacturing supply chain, from design to production and distribution, according to the airport.
Cynthia J. Sweet, associate vice chancellor for Economic Partnerships, said what that presence will be is still under review. “The University of Pittsburgh is positioned to be integrated into projects, centers and other collaborations within Neighborhood 91. Exactly what our presence looks like — and how Pitt experts and student are involved — will depend on the mix of industrial R&D partners involved.”
Pitt has no financial commitment to the project but will provide the expertise of faculty and students. The Ansys Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory was founded at Pitt in 2016.
“We want to continue adding opportunities for our faculty researchers and students to shape industry, apply their knowledge and make a meaningful impact. And we believe that Neighborhood 91 will position our community members to contribute in these ways,” Sweet said in an email. “At the same time, the University of Pittsburgh is committed to creating economic opportunities for our region and its residents. And Neighborhood 91 — which is designed to bring even more world-class industrial research and development partners to the area — also checks this box.”
The Pitt agreement with the airport came about, Sweet said, because “local leaders regularly share ideas, think big and understand the power of partnership.”
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, along with people from the University’s Office of Economic Partnerships, Office of Community and Government Relations, and the Swanson School of Engineering, have been meeting with Christina Cassotis, CEO of the airport authority, and her team to work out the agreement.
“The University of Pittsburgh is committed to creating economic opportunities for our region and its residents. And Neighborhood 91 — which is designed to bring even more world-class industrial research and development partners to the area — also checks this box,” Sweet said.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 412-648-4294.
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