“We hope to forge additional collaborations with industry and local government, whether it is with city water systems or research and development projects with industry,” said Dr. Scott McKay, dean of the College of Science and Technology at SAU.
The event is scheduled to begin in the Science Center foyer at 10:10 a.m. with a welcome reception. At 10:30 a.m., SAU President Dr. David Rankin will speak. Other speakers to follow will be McKay and the Director of the NRRC Dr. Gija Geme. Tours of the NRRC and Petroleum Lab will be offered starting around 11:30 a.m., and a closing reception will be at 12:30 p.m.
According to McKay, the NRRC is proud to have already established industrial partnerships with Albemarle Corporation, Dupont Fluoroproducts, Cross Oil Refining and Marketing Inc., APAK-Co, Murphy Oil USA, Lycus Ltd., and Amfuel Aerosafety and Technology.
The mission of the NRRC is to serve as an independent laboratory for the testing and characterization of raw and processed materials including lignite, both commercial and private, derived from the natural resources of the southwest Arkansas region. The center values both basic and applied research by undergraduate students and, as such, depends heavily on undergraduate students working in the center while at the same time training for their careers. The center hopes to serve as an economic development engine for southern Arkansas.
McKay explains that there are other services than water testing and research that industry may consider from the NRRC and the College of Science and Technology.
“We also can design training modules and provide interns in the areas of science, engineering, and computer science,” said McKay. “Our NRRC staff and equipment are available at fee-for-service for more integrated jobs. We also have consulting available in chemistry, biology, computer science, and chemical and mechanical engineering.”
The NRRC passed the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) inspection on January 30, 2013, which made it possible for the Center to compete for federal and state water and soil testing grants and contracts.
The NRRC is an approximately 3,000 square-foot facility on the SAU campus behind the Science Center. The center was funded jointly by SAU and a grant from the Department of Commerce through the Arkansas Economic Development Administration. It was completed in 2010. The NRRC consists of seven separate laboratories and is thoroughly equipped with state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation.