Morgan Advanced Materials establishes first Carbon Science Center of Excellence in U.S.
Spurs 30,000 sq. ft. building project; Center to employ high-level researchers in early stages


Neil Sharkey, Vice President for Research at Penn
and Michael Murray, Chief Technology
Officer for Morgan Advanced Materials

State College, Pennsylvania – On Tuesday, July 12 at the Penn State Conference Center Hotel during CARBON 2016—the World Conference on Carbon, Morgan Advanced Materials, a UK-based global leader in engineered carbon and ceramic materials, announced a precedent-setting industrial partnership with Penn State to establish a local research and development center in Innovation Park at Penn State.  The Carbon Science Center of Excellence (COE) aims to drive global developments in the field of carbon research around Morgan’s core competencies, materials and application engineering. This will be Morgan’s third center of excellence, its first in North America, with the company’s other COE’s located in the UK.

Mike Murray, chief technical officer at Morgan Advanced Materials, said State College is the ideal location for the new facility due to its proximity to Penn State’s top academic researchers, as well as its cutting-edge facilities. Penn State’s Materials Research Institute includes both a materials characterization lab and nanofabrication lab. State College also has proximity to a number of Morgan’s manufacturing sites in Pennsylvania, with locations in Latrobe, St. Mary’s, Coudersport, Wilkes Barre, East Stroudsburg and Allentown.

“For us,” Murray explained, “The decision to work with Penn State was a natural one. As a world leader in carbon-related research, Penn State has an unrivaled reputation for innovation in this field, which we believe will add real value for our customers. We hope the partnership will help accelerate our development of new products and capabilities, enabling us to continue to meet the future needs of our customers more quickly, efficiently and comprehensively.”

Over the course of three years, Morgan is expected to make a multi-million dollar investment aimed at creating a world-class research facility. Once operational, the center is expected to create a range of highly-skilled research jobs over the next few years.

Neil Sharkey, vice president of research for Penn State, explained: “The collaboration is a win-win situation for all involved. Our commitment to developing new methodologies and making further scientific discoveries in carbon science is closely aligned with Morgan’s company vision, mission and commitment to the markets it serves. Morgan’s expertise and commercial insights will provide our researchers with a solid foundation to deliver workable, commercially viable solutions that distinguish both Penn State and Morgan in a fiercely competitive marketplace, while contributing to job creation and economic development in State College and in the Commonwealth.”

Mike Murray added: “Support from Penn State University, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Action Team and the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County has been vital in making this center a reality. By working collaboratively, we envisage our discoveries will drive the industry forward, pushing the boundaries of technological innovation in the years to come.”

The agreement is the first global industrial partnership formed through Invent Penn State, the university’s initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success, started by Penn State President Eric Barron last year.

"Collaboration plays a vital role in supporting the critical linkage between leading universities and industry, stated The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary, Dennis Davin. “The expertise at Penn State University is a natural connection to support the cutting-edge innovation that will be cultivated through the Carbon Science Center of Excellence established by Morgan Advanced Materials."

A further boon to economic development in the region is that the partnership with Morgan Advanced Materials will spur development at Innovation Park with construction of a projected 30,000 square-foot mixed-use facility to house the Center of Excellence, slated to open in late 2017.

“The CBICC/Centre County Economic Development Partnership and its economic development investors are excited by Morgan Advanced Materials’ decision to locate in Centre County,” said Vern Squier, president and CEO of the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County. “The Carbon Science Center of Excellence announcement highlights the benefits of the collective community partnership with Penn State to advance economic development through job and wealth creation that was envisioned in the Memorandum of Agreement signed locally between Penn State and the CBICC last year. The Center of Excellence is a great opportunity, one that can serve as a building block for future business investment opportunities in the region.”