YSURF signs first international research collaboration

YSU Research Foundation

Key Hwang, right, president of Global Operations for Power Plaza Co. Ltd., charts with Provost Ikram Khawaja on campus.

Through the efforts of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, the Youngstown State University Research Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding Friday with Power Plaza Co. Ltd, of Seoul, South Korea, to foster electric vehicle technologies research in Northeast Ohio.

This is YSURF’s first MOU with an international company.

Power Plaza designs and manufactures components in the power conversion and power supply business. Its core product lines are used in many industrial applications, from utilities and telecommunications to the automotive sector.

The company is making efforts to be a supply chain leader in advanced electric vehicle technologies implementation, including tentative plans to launch its own electric vehicle line initially in the Asian market in the next 24 months.

The company’s website is www.powerplaza.co.kr.

The MOU will allow Power Plaza to work with YSU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and its electrical engineering department. Final research collaboration details will be worked out in the next several months with a tentative start date of January 2013.

Power Plaza would station an engineer for research work here and would also have YSU STEM interns work in the company’s South Korean research lab.

Martin Abraham, dean of YSU’s STEM College, expressed his appreciation of the new partnership.

“YSU is especially pleased to partner with Power Plaza in technologies such as battery management systems research. It will be great to have students and faculty of the STEM College interacting with the company to help grow the industry in the Mahoning Valley and the TechBelt,” he said.

Power Plaza also may initiate research collaboration with the University of Akron, which the company visited while attending YSU’s Sustainable Energy Forum this year. That trip was arranged by the TechBelt Energy Innovation Center, based in Warren.

Eric Planey, the Regional Chamber’s vice president for International Business Attraction, first met  Power Plaza representatives while attending a trade show in Korea in February, a trip partially sponsored by the Korean trade agency KOTRA.

“It is incredibly exciting to have a company of Power Plaza’s standing to consider research collaboration in the Valley and Northeast Ohio,” Planey said. “It is equally exciting to have a warm reception by both YSURF and the STEM College to Power Plaza’s request for research collaboration.”

“The research and development of today is the potential job creation of tomorrow, and the Valley is positioning itself to be a leader in next generation automotive technologies.”

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