GOALI: Promoting University-Industry Partnerships
A new scheduling solution reduces bottlenecks
in the production of computer chips, setting a new manufacturing standard
for the semiconductor industry. A research team, led by P.R. Kumar at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, worked with scientists
at SEMATECH and IBM to develop the new algorithm, which speeds the manufacture
of computer chips by 10 percent. Kumar's algorithm moves the chips through
a 100-step production process much more efficiently than was ever possible
Research into the dynamics of tiny bubbles and particles has changed
the design of hydrocarbon processing, enabling refiners to transform previously
unusable heavy oils into gasoline, chemical products, and coal that provides
superior combustion. Scientists at Ohio University and a network of four
oil companies are investigating gas-liquid-solid fluidized systems in
extreme operating conditions.
These are only two of the many innovations resulting from the Grant Opportunities
for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI), an NSF cross-directorate program
that connects universities and industry for their mutual benefit.
"In the long term," says NSF GOALI coordinator, Mike Roco, "this research
will create new technologies for broader and more efficient use of various
resources." Roco is also Program Director for the Engineering Directorate's
Fluid, Particulate and Hydraulic Systems Program.
Launched in 1993 with two experimental awards, the Directorate for Engineering
began awarding GOALI grants in 1994, funding 40 proposals for a total
of $4 million. The next year, the initiative grew to include the Directorates
for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Computer and Information Science
and Engineering (CISE). In 1995, the three directorates awarded $12 million
for 90 new projects. Bob Grafton, Program Director of CISE Design Automation,
reviewed several GOALI proposals for that directorate. "I would like to
see more people take advantage of the program," he says. "GOALI gives
people a way to test their ideas in real-world situations."
The initiative has been so successful that it was expanded in 1996 to
include all NSF directorates. Awards that year totaled $21 million. GOALI-oriented
research now involves more than 1,200 scientists and engineers in universities
and businesses. Their research will translate into improved productivity
and enhanced competitiveness. Roco is already fielding inquiries from
other government agencies and industry groups interested in adapting the
GOALI model. He also has advised groups in Mexico and Brazil about implementing
the program in their countries.
"GOALI enhances research. The project supports academics with feedback
and input from industry, gives industry access to top quality science,
and equips students with experience that makes them more readily employable," says
Roco. "The program has unlocked a real resource in academic and industrial
research. GOALI promotes basic research that can provide enormous economic
benefits for the country."