Dow Chemical Expands Lab Safety Partnerships

UC Santa Barbara is the most recent university participant.

The Dow Chemical Company has launched a pilot program at a third U.S. university, UC Santa Barbara, to improve laboratory safety awareness and practices. The UC Santa Barbara College of Engineering and its departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Materials are involved.

Similar safety partnerships were announced recently with the University of Minnesota (April 2012) and Penn State University (May 2012).

"The lab safety partnership with Dow underlines the College of Engineering's dedication to a culture of laboratory safety that aligns with industry best practices," said Rod Alferness, dean of the UC Santa Barbara College of Engineering. "Striving for the highest possible standards positions UCSB as a lab safety leader among academic research institutions."

"Partnering with leading U.S. universities is central to Dow's goal to strengthen research in scientific fields important to Dow and the nation's future," said Dr. William F. Banholzer, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief technology officer at Dow. "Dow recognizes that laboratory safety is a continuing challenge for universities everywhere, and we have the expertise to be part of the solution."

"Our alliance with Dow enables UCSB to stay at the forefront of materials research but is also critical to the world-class educational mission of the University," said Craig Hawker, professor of materials and director of UC Santa Barbara's Materials Research Laboratory. "This innovative partnership is a tremendous opportunity to work with Dow, an industry leader in safety practices, bringing a renewed culture of safety awareness to UCSB and providing our students with the best preparation for their future careers."

Dow's news release said the newest lab safety partnership will include an interdepartmental team working with Dow personnel to develop a baseline on safety culture and behavior and a program to address critical needs. Team members will visit Dow sites to examine best practices and to collaborate on means to adapt them to a university setting.

The company also has committed $250 million over 10 years to 11 prominent universities in partnerships focused on strengthening specific research programs. "As a major employer of scientific and engineering talent, Dow is committed to the development of the 21st century workforce, which will work to solve society's most pressing challenges while cultivating a more competitive U.S. marketplace. Excellence in scientific education and the development of innovative solutions go hand in hand," said Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical's chairman and CEO.

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