The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) and University of Minnesota are expanding their strategic partnership by launching a pilot program to improve safety awareness and practices in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in the university’s College of Science and Engineering. The pilot program will leverage key elements of Dow’s best-in-class practices to help improve university laboratory safety. The safety partnership reinforces Dow’s commitment to advancing research and development at leading U.S. universities. In support of the company’s goal to support breakthrough technologies and ensure a strong pipeline of scientific talent for the nation’s workforce, Dow announced in October 2011 it would invest $25 million per year for 10 years among 11 academic institutions, including the University of Minnesota. “At Dow, we see it as part of our mission to support universities continue the tradition of excellence in chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials science,” said Dr. William F. Banholzer, Ph.D., Dow’s chief technology officer and executive vice president of ventures, new business development, and licensing. “The safety pilot program expands the partnership with University of Minnesota and leverages our strength in laboratory safety, which is a continuing challenge for universities everywhere. The Dow safety mindset is based on driving behavior toward incident prevention, sustained by renewed employee engagement and the responsibility to provide a safe work environment to our employees.” University laboratory safety has improved steadily over the last two decades, thanks largely to the enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Laboratory Safety Act in 1990. However, with a transient student population and, at times, inadequate infrastructure (especially in pre-1990 facilities) nurturing and sustaining a safety culture is a challenge, say university researchers. "This partnership is a tremendous opportunity for us to learn how to improve the safety culture in our two departments, which is always of paramount concern as we perform research at the forefront of chemistry, materials science and engineering," said Department of Chemistry chair William Tolman. "The insights and help we glean by working closely with Dow, an industry leader in safety practices, will be invaluable in promoting safe work in our laboratories."
University administration recognizes the impact of this new partnership to improve safety and the importance of partnering with industry leaders.“Dow’s partnership with the University of Minnesota is a great example of how today’s companies can work with universities to accomplish mutual goals while contributing to our society,” said Eric W. Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota. “The safety partnership with Dow will help bring a renewed culture of safety awareness to our laboratories that supports our mission of education and driving groundbreaking research.” Successful elements of this safety pilot program could be leveraged to other departments within the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering and potentially to other universities. "We are thrilled to partner with the Dow Chemical Company in this critically important aspect of research and education," said Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science head Frank Bates. "The consequences of this unique and innovative program will reverberate across Universities around the country." For more information on Dow’s industry-leading partnerships with U.S. universities, visit www.dow.com/innovation/partnership. About Dow Dow (NYSE: Dow) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s diversified industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. In 2011, Dow had annual sales of $60 billion and employed approximately 52,000 people worldwide. The company’s more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 197 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "company" mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.