Research institute puts Western on cutting edge
By Ed Stack
Western's place on the cutting edge of technology will be further secured this week with the opening of the Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Institute at Western's Research Park.
Numerous guests, including President Paul Davenport and Minister of Industry John Manley, will be on hand at 10 a.m. on Friday for the grand opening of IMTI at Research Park on Collip Circle.
The IMTI will house over 140 scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff and include up to 40 students and visiting researchers from institutions across Canada and abroad.
"All forms of manufacturers will be welcome in the facility, from biomedical to automotive and nature," said Tim Walzak, director of Research Park Corporation at Western.
A multi-partner collaboration is responsible for the project, with substantial funding coming from the Western Research Park, the City of London and the provincial and federal governments, Walzak said.
"This new institute is bringing a high level of advanced manufacturing techniques into Western," he said. "Engineering students, particularly those in mechanical and material engineering, will benefit but the institute will also benefit science and computer science students."
In addition to exposing Western students to industry, Walzak expects a significant benefit by exposing industry to the engineering and science programs available at Western, adding this is a wonderful new opportunity for a productive partnership in the community.
Professor John Tarasuk, chair of the mechanical and materials engineering department, said, "Contact between students and industry will be one of the most important spin-offs of the project. Job prospects will definitely be improved for all students involved."
Ties between the IMTI and the faculty of engineering have already been formed. Two PhD students are directly involved and two joint faculty appointments are currently being created, Tarasuk said. The faculty is also hoping to have scientists from the institute present lectures in areas the engineering students are interested in.
"We are as close to the best information available as one can get. Within the next few years, our mechanical engineering with manufacturing option program will be the best in the country," he said.
Acting Mayor Grant Hopcroft will attend the official opening.