It would be a mistake to think that The Ohio State University and University of Michigan are connected through sports rivalry alone. While fierce competitors on the football field, it's just not so in the research lab, where Buckeyes and Wolverines are respected partners on projects of national and international significance.
The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) is the biggest project in which they are lead collaborators. Along with the manufacturing technology nonprofit and Ohio State spinoff Edison Welding Institute, the $148 million initiative will develop lighter materials for vehicles that travel by land, sea and air, increasing performance and capacity while lowering fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
Ohio State will conceptualize and design materials with new properties, while Michigan will pioneer new material joining processes.
“Ohio State and Michigan are leading the revival of the manufacturing industry in the United States and finding solutions for the next generation of clean vehicles,” said Giorgio Rizzoni, a three-time Michigan graduate and director of Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research, which is directly involved in ALMMII research. “The combined expenditures for all research of the two academic giants exceed $2 billion, creating a nearly unmatched partnership in shaping the future automotive industry.”
The venture also will train the next generation of workers in this industry and is expected to create 10,000 Midwest jobs.
Here are some other notable projects the athletic rivals are working on together:
Medicine: Along with Ohio-based Venture Therapeutics Inc., the schools formed a new company to develop and commercialize a pharmaceutical patch to treat precancerous oral lesions. The patch is effective at treating the disease without side effects and removes the need for invasive surgery.
Energy: Michigan is the lead on one of two Centers for U.S.-China Clean Energy Research, a $50 million venture to advance clean energy technology. UM, Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research and a consortium of public and private entities will focus on clean vehicles, with Ohio State lending expertise in energy storage systems, lightweight vehicle structures, thermoelectrics, electric drive and power electronic systems, alternative fuels and advanced engines.
The arts: Michigan and Ohio State are two of 28 founding members of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, an effort that promotes art and design practices on campus, which have shown to increase creative potential in all students, regardless of major.
Research assessment: Ohio State is a key partner in the Institute for Research and Innovation in Science, a new initiative at Michigan starting in January. The institute will create rigorous methods to assess the effect of the nation’s $65 billion university research investment on the economy and scientific progress. The full value of research will be understood in unprecedented detail, and the initiative is likely to inform future policy decisions.