Wicker, Cochran & Bryant: MSU as Boeing’s Choice to Host Composite Research Center

Aircraft Giant Also Signs New Agreement with USM to Advance Next Generation Composite Materials

May 28, 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran and Governor Phil Bryant today jointly announced that two Mississippi research institutions have been selected by The Boeing Company to lead research and development on composites, with Mississippi State University hosting a Stitched Resin Infused Composite Research Center.

Boeing has informed the Mississippi leaders of its decision to relocate its stitched resin infused technology efforts to MSU, representing the second major research win for the school after its selection this month to lead the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Boeing also reported that it has signed a new master agreement with the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) to serve as a technology incubator of next generation composite material systems.

“I am pleased that Boeing is expanding its research and development capabilities in Mississippi,” Wicker said. “Our state’s world-class research universities make Mississippi an ideal setting for one of the nation’s leading aerospace companies to develop cutting-edge composite technologies. I am confident that the partnership between Boeing and Mississippi State University, as well as a renewed commitment between the company and Southern Miss, will reap enormous benefits for our students, our workforce, and the industry.”

“The word that comes to mind with these developments is ‘opportunity.’ Mississippi State and Southern Miss have solid opportunities to collaborate with an industry giant to accelerate cutting-edge aircraft technologies, and students will have new chances to excel in a growing sector of our economy,” Cochran said. “I’m proud that our research universities have built the expertise and capacity to attract jobs and investments to our state every day.”

“Boeing’s decision to invest in Mississippi is a testament to the top-notch capabilities of our research universities and to our strength as a significant player in the aerospace industry,” Bryant said. “Every commercial airplane in the world has at least one part made in Mississippi, and with Boeing’s increased presence in our state, we will help innovate the next generation of technology. I have no doubt that Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Boeing and the state of Mississippi will all benefit from these partnerships.”

The Senators and Governor Bryant have actively supported the universities’ applications to partner with Boeing on research important to the future of aircraft and aerospace technology, and thanked the company for increasing its presence and investment in Mississippi.

MSU, which was selected through a competition with other universities, must reach an agreement with Boeing to finalize the decision to house the center at the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory in Starkville.

This pending agreement, which would create opportunities for students to conduct research in this area, is intended to aid in accelerating advances in stitched resin infused composite structures and manufacturing technologies. As part of a final agreement, Boeing would provide equipment valued at $3.0 million for the center and fund two full-time engineers who are experts in this technology. Raspet has a global reputation for composites research and has served as an incubation space for multiple composite manufacturers that now have permanent Mississippi homes.

As a technology incubator for Boeing, USM has entered into a new master agreement with the company to accelerate research and development of Next Generation materials, including polymers and polymer matrix composites. The new agreement builds on decade-long working relationship between USM and Boeing, which currently has a research contract to utilize the assets of the Accelerator, the university’s business incubator, which the Mississippi delegation has supported through the federal appropriations process.