Global Carbon Materials Leader Partners with Penn State Establishes R&D Center at Innovation Park

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

Neil Sharkey, Vice President for Research at Penn State, with Mike Murray, Chief Technical Officer at Morgan Advanced Materials

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.

Yesterday 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 Centre 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 Centre 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 Centre 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 Centre of Excellence is a great opportunity, one that can serve as a building block for future business investment opportunities in the region.”

About Morgan Advanced Materials
Morgan Advanced Materials is a global materials engineering company which designs and manufactures a wide range of high specification products with extraordinary properties, across multiple sectors and geographies.

From an extensive range of advanced materials the company produces components, assemblies and systems that deliver significantly enhanced performance for its customers’ products and processes. Its engineered solutions are produced to very high tolerances and many are designed for use in extreme environments.

The Company thrives on breakthrough innovation. Its materials scientists and applications engineers work in close collaboration with customers to create outstanding, highly differentiated products that perform more efficiently, more reliably and for longer.

Morgan Advanced Materials has a global presence with over 8,500 employees across 50 countries serving specialist markets in the energy, transport, healthcare, electronics, petrochemical and industrial sectors. Morgan is listed on the London Stock Exchange in the engineering sector.

About Invent Penn State
Invent Penn State is a Commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success.

Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and university-community collaborations to facilitate the challenging process of turning research discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humankind. If you’d like to connect with the initiative, visit

About Innovation Park at Penn State
Innovation Park at Penn State is a 118-acre technology park that provides office, light manufacturing and R&D space along with build-to-suit options for commercial companies. The park offers unique business development value to startup companies and tenants, being located adjacent to Penn State, one of the premiere research institutions in the world, and offering established relationships with the university’s tech transfer organization, the Ben Franklin TechCelerator, the Centre County Chamber of Business and Industry, and local and regional entrepreneurs and investors.

The park is anchored by The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, a 300-room facility with nearly 10,000 square feet of conference space and amenities and affords tenants access to indoor and outdoor fitness and recreation and an onsite daycare. Innovation Park at Penn State recently added 82,000 square feet of Class A office space in its newest building, 331 Innovation Boulevard, completed in October 2015 and expects to build an additional 30,000 square-foot mixed-use facility, slated for completion in the fall of 2017.

The Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County is a membership organization comprising business of all sizes and from a variety of industry sectors, as well as non-profit agencies and academic institutions. The CBICC is the champion of economic development and business growth in Centre County and, with close to 1,000 members, the largest organization representing businesses throughout Central Pennsylvania.

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Nena Ellis Koschny
Penn State
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