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For Innovation, Companies are Turning to UT

When leading companies have a problem to solve or new technologies to develop, they increasingly turn to Tennessee’s flagship land-grant institution.

That’s because at UT Knoxville we have the faculty expertise, the resources, and the collaborative mindset to help find answers to the problems they are facing. For an example, look no further than our partnership with Eastman.

Last week we celebrated the opening of the Eastman Innovation Center on our Knoxville campus and launched a new phase in our long partnership with the company.

Eastman is a Tennessee-based global company at the forefront of recycling technologies. UT is a major research university with a reputation as a world leader in advanced materials and advanced manufacturing. By bringing together industry scientists, faculty experts, and student talent in one place, we can do more.

Eastman isn’t the first company to turn to UT for this kind of collaboration. Our faculty work with thousands of people across hundreds of companies every day to solve problems. One of those companies is Volkswagen, which built its first North American innovation hub in our Research Park at Cherokee Farm in 2020. There our researchers are helping Volkswagen develop lighter, more fuel-efficient cars and longer-lasting batteries.

We also have research partnerships with Lockheed Martin, AT&T, Siemens, and other corporations. We continue to be an attractive partner for companies like these because we continue to evolve and invest in innovation—through our personnel, our facilities, and our infrastructure.

Earlier this year we launched the Institute for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing, a hub at Cherokee Farm that connects a network of more than 160 faculty from departments and colleges across campus to collaborate. Working with industry and government partners, they are using their expertise to find solutions, products, and services to improve the lives of people in Tennessee and all over the world.

Tennessee is a global leader—and people are taking notice. Our faculty are recognized internationally. Our students continue to receive prestigious awards. We are expecting a record year for research expenditures.

This momentum is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. But it’s possible only because of who we are as Volunteers and the values we hold—our curiosity, creativity, and collaborative nature.