May 1, 2017

Purdue and Ford Motor Co. form research and development alliance, expanding on past research collaborations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Ford Motor Co. and Purdue University have inaugurated a research and development alliance designed to develop a wide array of technologies for automobiles, and more broadly for mobility solutions and transportation services.

The alliance allows Purdue and Ford to collaborate on research projects that will best utilize the expertise of each organization.

“No organization has sufficient internal resources for technical leadership in all areas of interest,” said Ed Krause, Ford global manager of external alliances. “We see a number of technologies coming together that will not only enable autonomy, but also dramatically impact the industry in other ways.”

Ford chose to add Purdue as an alliance partner based on positive benchmarking with other companies and on numerous successful previous interactions.

“When you look at the alliance program Ford has structured, it’s one of the best that we’ve seen,” said Dan Hirleman, chief corporate and global partnerships officer. “It’s developed into an excellent model for industry-university partnerships.”

The alliance will provide Purdue faculty from all disciplines an easier avenue to connect with Ford personnel to propose research ideas. Ford invested substantial funds the past four years for over 20 projects at Purdue, mostly for research within mechanical engineering. The new alliance model provides strategic focus and proven processes that should lead to a dramatic increase in the scale and breadth of research collaboration. The expanded project portfolio will involve Purdue faculty and students as well as Ford researchers.

Ford has realistic expectations on what can be accomplished on university campuses, understanding the respective strengths and weaknesses of academic and industrial R&D and has a proven internal process to evolve, refine and implement successful collaborative results.

“We don’t expect you to deliver a product directly out of a university, but rather show concept readiness that we can evolve to application readiness within Ford,” Krause said.

Ford employs more than 200,000 people at 62 plants that produce 6.65 million vehicles per year, leading to $152 billion in annual sales. One of the largest automobile producers globally, Ford officials hope Purdue researchers can help further develop the automaker’s technical capabilities as it continues to strengthen its core automotive business while developing emerging opportunities and new mobility solutions. 

Media contact: Brian Peloza, 765-496-9711 

Sources: Dan Hirleman, 

Dave McKinnis, special adviser, Purdue Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships, 

Ed Krause, Ford global manager, external alliances 

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