By Charlotte Business Journal

Duke Energy Corp. and Siemens Energy will together contribute $8.8 million worth of scholarships and technical support to UNC Charlotteâ¿¿s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center, executives said Friday at the Charlotte Business Journalâ¿¿s Energy Leadership Awards.

Duke Chief Executive Jim Rogers and Mark Pringle, director of operations at Siemensâ¿¿ manufacturing plant here, made the announcement after receiving awards at the event at The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte.

Charlotte-based Duke (NYSE:DUK) will contribute $2 million, with a $670,000 match from the state, to establish a Duke Energy chair of power engineering at the center. And Duke will support a fellowship program that provides renewable awards to freshmen entering EPIC and also support a smart-grid laboratory.

With in-kind contributions included, Dukeâ¿¿s commitment totals $4.5 million.

Siemensâ¿¿ contribution will total $4.3 million in cash and in-kind contributions. Both companies will make their contributions over several years.

Siemens will provide money for graduate and undergraduates enrolled in the program and support a veterans outreach initiative, a visiting scholar program and bring key researchers to EPIC to assist in research.

It also will provide machinery time at its 550,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Charlotte so EPIC faculty members can work on advanced manufacturing research.

Part of Siemensâ¿¿ contribution will be made as a challenge grant to encourage other companies to provide additional support.

⿿Siemens Energy is committing time, talent and funds for a dual community impact ⿿ to further the EPIC and New Energy Capital efforts,⿝ Pringle says.

EPIC has been identified as a key part of the regionâ¿¿s efforts to recruit more energy companies and establish Charlotte as a national hub for the industry.

⿿We at UNC Charlotte are most grateful for the ongoing support of these two energy leaders,⿝ says UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phil Dubois. ⿿This support reflects the depth of academic and industry collaboration in the Charlotte region.⿝

Dhiaa Jamil, chief generation officer for Duke and chairman of the EPIC industrial advisory board, says EPIC will help develop the work force needed to support and increasingly important energy sector in the Charlotte area. ⿿It will be a resource for engineering students from many universities and colleges, and a national resource for the development of cutting edge technologies that continue to shape the energy industry.⿝

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

Copyright 2010