By Cindy Landrum  

JUNE 21, 2012 10:09 a.m. Comments (2)

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The Charleston area will have its own version of CU-ICAR.

Clemson University has announced it will build the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center at its Restoration Institute on the former Navy base in North Charleston.

The education center will be a place where academics and industry meet, collaborate and bring innovation to the marketplace in industries such as advanced materials, the environment and sectors related to energy, power systems, logistics and transportation, said Clemson University President Jim Barker.

It will be patterned after the International Center for Automotive Research, known by its initials ICAR, in Greenville.

ICAR is a 250-acre campus where Clemson University automotive engineering graduate students, established automotive companies such as BMW and Michelin and new high-tech companies work side-by-side on automotive-related research.

There are more than 1,000 automotive assemblers and suppliers within a 500-mile radius of the Upstate.

In North Charleston, the focus is expected to be composite materials, advanced computing and energy systems.

It will also be used as a workforce development hub and a place where students of all ages – from middle school on – and scientists from all over the world can visit.

“What CU-ICAR has done to strengthen the automotive cluster in the Upstate, the Restoration Institute is doing in the Lowcountry for advanced materials, the environment and sectors related to energy, power systems, logistics and transportation,” Barker said. “The Zucker Family Graduate Education Center will be the hub where all these initiatives meet.”

The Zucker Family Graduate Education Center is being financed in part by a $5 million gift from the family that owns The InterTech Group, a global manufacturing holding company based in North Charleston. It is one of the largest privately held companies in the country.

The $20 million Zucker Center is expected to open in 2014.

By then, Clemson is expected to have finished construction on its wind-turbine drivetrain testing facility.

Clemson and its partners received a $45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in November 2009 to build and operate a large-scale testing facility for next-generations wind-turbine drivetrains. The university and its partners are providing another $53 million for the project.

The testing facility will be the centerpiece of the Clemson University Restorative Institute complex and is expected be the largest of its kind in the world. Plans also call for a 15-megawatt grid stimulator.

Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group, said it is important for the state’s vitality to create a workforce with the right skills.

“Centers like this will help place South Carolina at the forefront of innovation,” she said.

North Charleston is where Boeing located its Dreamliner assembly plant.

Officials said The Citadel provided undergraduate engineering education in the Lowcountry, but the Zucker Center will provide opportunity for students to earn advanced engineering degrees and conduct real-world research shoulder-to-shoulder with engineers from leading companies already located in South Carolina.



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