The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development recently granted Temple $1.6 million to establish a research center to develop environmentally friendly manufacturing methods for the pharmaceutical industry.
The Center for Pennsylvania Environmental Technologies for the Pharmaceutical Industry is designed to sustain and advance the pharmaceutical industry by developing new technologies and processes in pharmaceutical waste management.
Dr. Rominder Suri, professor of civil and environmental engineering, is the center’s founder. Suri said he is confident the center will create business opportunities for engineering design firms and employment opportunities for students.
“Engineering design firms are a primary employer of civil and environmental engineering students when they graduate,” Suri said. “There is a need for technological innovation that is more cost efficient and more energy efferent to help U.S. companies compete in the global market.”
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a South Philadelphia-based economic development organization funded by the DCED, will help the center to commercialize the technology it develops.
“Successful university research projects have become a forceful catalyst for new company formation, new industries, new products and new jobs for the Pennsylvania economy,” said Jamie Fulginiti, a spokesperson for the DCED. “The state is certain that the Pennsylvania Environmental Technologies for Pharmaceutical Industry program will be no different.”
Fulginiti said private and public institutions are major engines for economic development.
The grant from the DCED helped Suri win a second grant from the National Science Foundation. With the National Science Foundation Grant, he plans to establish and direct a center on water and environmental technology.
This national center will focus heavily on waste-water treatment, in addition to producing new technologies that challenge a broad scope of environmental issues.
Temple is the lead university for the center, which will also have offices at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.
The center will be housed in the College of Engineering and Architecture and include two state-of-the-art testing laboratories. It is currently being renovated and is scheduled to be completed in April.
“I think the center will definitely bring a lot of good publicity to our school,” said Justin Lauts, a senior mechanical engineering major. “It would be really nice to have the university focused on by major news outlets for doing something that can be perceived as positive. Having a person around like [Dr. Suri] always helps everyone.”
Erika Ransom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.