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URI Center for Chemical, Forensic Sciences to Benefit from Generosity of Global Scientific Instrument Maker

Shimadzu to offer instruments at discount, including full service plan.

by University of Rhode Island
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From left, David M. Dooley, University of Rhode Island president; Shuzo Maruyama, president of Shimadzu Scientific Instruments; and Mike Smith, president of the URI Foundation, participate in a ceremonial signing of an agreement that will provide state-of-the-art Shimadzu scientific instruments at a significant discount and including a 5-year service plan, an in-kind donation valued at more than $1.2 million. The instruments will become part of the Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences now under construction at URI.URI photos by Nora LewisKINGSTON, R.I. – September 10, 2014 – One of the leading scientific instrument makers in the world, Shimadzu Corporation, will provide the University of Rhode Island’s new Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences, currently under construction on the Kingston campus, with state-of-the-art instruments at a significant discount, including a full 5-year service plan, an in-kind donation valued at more than $1.2 million.

If the University were to purchase the instruments through normal educational purchasing programs, the cost could run up to $2.8 million. The service plan covers technician visits once each semester to the teaching-learning labs and an additional visit each year to the research laboratories. 

Based in Japan, Shimadzu Corp. posted $3 billion in consolidated net sales in 2013. Its contribution to URI will ensure that the University has cutting edge instruments and the ability to maintain even heavy demand instruments used by thousands of URI students who take chemistry each semester.

“We know how expensive the instruments and service plans are and the value they bring to our department and the entire University,” said William Euler, professor and chair of URI’s Department of Chemistry. “We are in the process of making curriculum changes that will incorporate learning in an environment with the very latest instruments.”

Japanese drummers perform during the ceremonial signing ceremony between URI and Shimadzu Corp.URI photo by Nora LewisSlated to be completed in the spring of 2016, URI’s $68 million Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences, will serve more than 7,000 URI students who take chemistry each year; about 40 percent of all URI degree programs require at least one chemistry class. It will provide chemistry instruction to approximately 1,400 students each day.

Supported primarily by a $61 million bond issue approved by Rhode Island voters and private fund raising, the center will triple the amount of space for teaching labs and nearly double the space for research labs compared to current facilities in Pastore Hall, which was built in 1953 to accommodate 800 students.

“Successful partnerships, like this one with the Shimadzu Corporation, help elevate not only the infrastructure here on campus, but the University’s overall competitiveness. Our ability to provide the latest instruments and facilities can be a deciding factor in our efforts to attract both students and faculty to URI. We are grateful to Shimadzu for their generosity and value the opportunity to work with corporate partners, whether domestic or global, in order to create a tangible impact on the URI community,” said Mike Smith, president of the URI Foundation.

To celebrate the partnership, University and Shimadzu officials came together for a signing ceremony on Sept. 10 at 4:30 p.m. in room 10 of the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, 120 Flagg Road.

“As many Rhode Islanders who supported this project know, the Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences is central to the University’s efforts to continually strengthen teaching and research and help build a strong economic future for the state based on discovery and innovation,” said President David M. Dooley. “When the new building opens, thanks to this generous donation from Shimadzu, our students and faculty will have access to the most advanced laboratory instruments and a program to keep all of them operational. We are fortunate to be able to partner with a company like Shimadzu, which is committed to the success of our University.”

“The University of Rhode Island has a dynamic science program focused on the future, and Shimadzu is pleased and eager to support such a research institution,” said Shuzo Maruyama, president of Shimadzu Scientific Instruments. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to catalyze the potential of this great institution and look forward to working together in the future.”

Winifred Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Department of Chemistry, said that when Shimadzu learned of URI’s new Center it reached out to her to gauge URI’s interest in a partnership.

Shuzo Maruyama, president of Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, left, and David M. Dooley, University of Rhode Island president, get acquainted before a signing ceremony at URI. URI photo by Nora Lewis“We were most eager to begin discussions, and now that the agreement is in place I can say that this is an extraordinary commitment from the company,” Brownell said.

Brownell noted that Abby, the forensic scientist character in the hit CBS show NCIS, refers to a mass spectrometer as “Mr. Mass Spec., and that the piece is manufactured by Shimadzu.

In fact, among the instruments that will be found in the teaching and learning labs are: balances, mass spectrometers, gas chromatographs, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometers, liquid chromatographs, fluorescent spectrometers and visible spectrometers.

In addition, there will be a central laboratory for research that will be used by faculty, graduate students and advanced undergraduates.

“This will be a complete 21st century laboratory building with no Bunsen burners and no natural gas in the building,” Euler said.

“I am very grateful to the Shimadzu Corporation for providing the students and faculty the instruments they need to engage in 21st century science,” Brownell said. “This center and all of the instruments contained in it will benefit all Rhode Islanders as it serves as a catalyst for economic development and discoveries that will improve peoples’ health and well being within our state’s borders and around the world.”