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ODU Engineering Receives Multimillion Dollar Software Grant From Tech Giant Siemens

Oktay BaysalOktay Baysal

Old Dominion University has received a $746 million in-kind software grant from Siemens PLM Software.

The grant provides state-of-practice software for managing every aspect of product information from its development, design, manufacturing, to its support and maintenance.

The grant will support ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology in its strategic initiative in the area of advanced manufacturing, with a focus on digital manufacturing, design innovation and entrepreneurship, and product lifecycle management (PLM).

The in-kind academic grant from Siemens PLM Software was announced at an event on June 4 at Virginia's Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) in Prince George County, along with in-kind grants to other Virginia colleges and universities.

"We are tremendously appreciative of this grant from Siemens PLM Software, which represents state-of-practice software for managing every aspect of product information from its development, design, manufacturing, to its support and maintenance," said Oktay Baysal, dean of ODU's Batten College. "The software will be integrated into existing as well as new undergraduate and graduate curriculum and will help develop a Product Lifecycle Management center of excellence with a focus on marine engineering."

Old Dominion University joined CCAM in January as an academic member, providing leadership and research expertise in surface engineering and digital manufacturing. ODU also provides workforce training and academic support for three major corporations with local presence - Newport News Shipbuilding, Canon and Siemens - which are already industrial members of CCAM.

"This partnership will open new opportunities for fundamental and applied research by building on ODU's current strengths in product lifecycle management, manufacturing and marine engineering, modeling and simulation, visualization, cyber-security, data mining and knowledge management," said Mileta Tomovic, chair of ODU's Department of Engineering Technology, and a member of the CCAM advisory committee.

After this in-kind academic grant is implemented, ODU students will have access to the same Siemens PLM software used throughout the global manufacturing industry to design, develop and manufacture some of the world's most sophisticated products in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer products, medical devices, machinery, shipbuilding, apparel and high-tech electronics.

The series of in-kind grants was established as a result of an industry need for skilled workers and is designed to support employers such as Rolls-Royce. The grants are part of ongoing workforce development collaboration among community colleges, universities and organizations like CCAM and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center- an organization that provides workforce training to the rural population.

"The manufacturing industry in America is on the rise and is being transformed by a software revolution that is enhancing productivity, increasing efficiency and speeding time to market," said Chuck Grindstaff, president and CEO, Siemens PLM Software. "Here in Virginia where shipbuilding is core to the state's economy, it's important we equip students with the tools that will help them build the world's largest and most complex ships for the U.S. Navy, such as the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier."

Six other academic partners of Siemens throughout the state received in-kind software grants to support curriculum and training programs, including Thomas Nelson Community College, New River Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, ECPI University/Virginia Beach Campus, and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

As software plays an increasing role in the next era of manufacturing, students and faculty will use the software in assignments and research related to computer-aided-design, engineering simulation, industrial design, digital manufacturing and manufacturing management.

The in-kind grants will also help to expand and modernize manufacturing curriculum in design and process technologies. By using the software in their course work, academic and research projects, students can develop the advanced skills sought after by the more than 77,000 customers who utilize Siemens' software and technology solutions worldwide.

This includes nearly 90 companies throughout the region and Commonwealth of Virginia who rely on Siemens' PLM and CAD software including employers, such as Rolls-Royce and Orbital Sciences Corp.