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Southern Miss, Boeing strengthen partnership with new master agreement

The University of Southern Mississippi has fortified its long-term relationship with The Boeing Company by signing a new master agreement to serve as the technology incubator of next generation composite material systems.

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran joined Gov. Phil Bryant in making the announcement that Southern Miss and Mississippi State University had been selected by Boeing to lead research and development on composites. In addition to the new agreement with Southern Miss, Boeing has decided to relocate its stitched resin infused technology efforts to Mississippi State.

As a technology incubator for Boeing, Southern Miss has entered into a new master agreement with the aviation giant to accelerate research and development of next generation materials, including polymers and polymer matrix composites. The new agreement builds on a decade-long working relationship between USM and Boeing, which currently has a research contract to utilize the assets of the Accelerator – the University’s business incubator.

“Our new master agreement with Boeing moves Southern Miss into the category of preferred university partner for technology development,” said Dr. Gordon Cannon, vice president for Research at the University. “This agreement will enhance our partnership with Boeing; provide them with access to our unique technology incubator; increase the level of engagement among our research teams; and facilitate many more opportunities for our students and faculty to interact with one of the biggest companies in the industry as we collectively advance the future of aerospace development.”

Dr. Jeff Wiggins, director of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at Southern Miss, points out that the 10-year partnership with Boeing has created internships and permanent job opportunities for students in the polymer program. During this period Boeing has provided 11 graduate student internships, while hiring five of the University’s doctoral graduates.

Additionally, Boeing has recognized the University’s scientific contributions by presenting Southern Miss with the prestigious Silver Level Supplier of the Year Award in consecutive years (2013, 2014).

“Researchers and students are integrated within a Boeing Research and Technology international university, supplier, and Air Force research network for developing next generation composite materials,” said Wiggins. “This new agreement expedites research contracts between Boeing and USM and is expected to bring substantial research support and collaboration for many years ahead.”

The senators, along with Gov. Bryant, have actively supported the efforts of Southern Miss and Mississippi State to partner with Boeing on research important to the future of aircraft and aerospace technology.

“I am pleased that Boeing is expanding its research and development capabilities in Mississippi,” said Wicker. “Our state’s world-class research universities make Mississippi an ideal setting for one of the nation’s leading aerospace companies to develop cutting-edge composite technologies.”

Said Cochran: “The word that comes to mind with these developments is ‘opportunity.’ Southern Miss and Mississippi State have solid opportunities to collaborate with an industry giant to accelerate cutting-edge aircraft technologies, and students will have new chances to excel in a growing sector of our economy.”

Bryant noted that Boeing’s decision to invest in Mississippi serves as a testament to the top-notch capabilities of the state’s research universities and to its strength as a significant player in the aerospace industry.

“Every commercial airplane in the world has at least one part made in Mississippi, and with Boeing’s increased presence in our state, we will help innovate the next generation of technology,” said Bryant. “I have no doubt that Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Boeing and the State of Mississippi will all benefit from these partnerships.”

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