Over many years, the University of Kentucky’s Institute of Research for Technology Development (IR4TD) has counted Japanese automotive giants Toyota, Nissan, and Honda as its closest partners. In another field, Nippon Steel Corporation has also become one of the institute’s most reliable collaborators.
In 2017, Toyota invested $1.25 million in IR4TD to create an automotive production engineering program at the University of Kentucky to address a significant need in one of the country’s top three largest auto-producing states.
The program aimed to attract more engineering students and produce more engineers trained in automotive production. The Undergraduate Production Engineering Certificate program teaches automotive manufacturing core processes and provides access to Toyota’s state-of-the-art laboratory and world-class engineering expertise.
Partnerships with Japanese companies go beyond profits
For Dr. Kozo Saito, Founding Director of IR4TD and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, the institute’s partnerships with Japanese companies are geared towards creating a positive impact on society through environment-friendly projects.
“We like to do business [that is] based on clean technology and a sustainable society,” said Saito, who pointed out that Toyota remains deeply commitment to participate in sustainable initiatives without “seeking some immediate return from its support.”
“The greater good can only be achieved by working together,” he added.