Two plastics engineering alumni are contributing $1 million each to set up an endowment fund at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell to create two professorships in the study of environmentally friendly plastics.
UML also announced that Advanced Electron Beams Inc. of Wilmington, Mass., is making an undisclosed donation to fund electron beam research and that the state will provide $4 million in funding to expand the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, also known as M2D2.
Mark Saab and Jim Dandeneau, graduates of the plastics engineering department, are funding research of green plastics at UML. Each gift also enabled the school to gain a $500,000 match from Nantucket Conservation Foundation, which supports creation of environmental endowments.
``The intent is to ramp up the effort in bioplastics,'' said Bob Malloy, chair of the UML Plastics Engineering Department.
Saab, a Lowell resident, is president, co-founder and co-owner of Advanced Polymers Inc. of Salem, N.H. The company manufactures heat-shrink tubing and produces high- and low-pressure balloons for the medical-device industry.
In 2004, Saab funded a UML facility dedicated to polymer property evaluation. He and his wife, Elisia, also have established two scholarships for plastics engineering student athletes.
Dandeneau, who lives in Thompson, Conn., is former president and chief executive officer of Putnam Plastics Corp. in Dayville, Conn., which supplies specialty polymers for the medical-device industry. He is also on the board of Memry Corp. of Bethel, Conn., which acquired Putnam in 2004.
In 1999, Dandeneau created a family-endowed scholarship program. He is an inductee of UML's Francis Academy of Distinguished Engineers. Putnam Plastics also funded a renovation of a UML extrusion laboratory.
Advanced Electron Beams entered a sponsored research agreement with the plastics engineering department to explore the effect of low-energy electron beams on polymers.
The one-year graduate student project will be directed by professor Stephen McCarthy with the aid of AEB technical representative Somchintana Norasetthekul.
AEB captures the power of electron beams in a compact form and allows companies to use the energy in applications such as surface sterilization, pollution abatement, printing and polymer treatment.
M2D2 allows smaller medical-device firms to use resources at the UMass Lowell and Worcester campuses for engineering, product design, prototyping and manufacturing.