Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Ohio State and Honda mark two decades of partnership success

By David Schwartz
Published: October 20th, 2020

The Ohio State University and automaker Honda and are celebrating the 20-year anniversary of their first formal partnership agreement, which stemmed from their joint involvement in the Transportation Research Center (TRC) in East Liberty.

To celebrate the anniversary, Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson joined leaders from Honda, the College of Engineering, TRC and One Columbus to discuss the benefits the agreement has had on the university, the company and region, outline in a new report issue last week.

“A partnership is only great when everyone benefits, and everyone has benefited from this partnership,” said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. “I want to congratulate Ohio State and Honda for the great partnership. You’ve shown how it can be done.”

According to Johnson, continuing collaborations in research, philanthropy and talent development are some of the many reasons for the continued success of the partnership.

“I’m excited about what the next 20 years is going to look like,” she said.

Over the life of the partnership, Honda has provided more than $28 million in research funding to Ohio State, some of which has helped to establish the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, the Simulation and Modeling Center and the Driving Simulator Lab. Honda has also funded 235 research projects at the university over just the last five fiscal years.

College of Engineering Dean David Williams said Honda is an integral partner in research, education and outreach as the company continues to invest in faculty and students to help advance the field of engineering. Honda also funds six endowed chairs, which help to recruit top talent to the university.

Both Johnson and Rick Schostek, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., said one of the cornerstones of the relationship is the professional development opportunities for students and faculty at Ohio State and Honda associates. Nearly 600 Honda associates have participated in professional development activities at Ohio State in the last year, including a graduate certificate in business leadership program, personalized for Honda through the Fisher College of Business. Honda hires between 50 and 60 Ohio State students each year for internships and full time positions, and also provides experiential learning for undergraduates through a capstone program. Last year alone, 168 engineering and business students participated in projects sponsored by the company.

“These interns and capstone students are really great for us,” Schostek said. “They give us energy and we give them experience.”

Johnson said students get to help Honda solve real-world engineering problems, like they did in a project where students were able to help improve the maintenance cycle of robots on the Honda production line. “I was surprised Honda would take a solution from the students and implement it on the production line. That’s unique,” she said.

Honda has donated more than $68 million to Ohio State throughout the relationship, funding faculty, students and programs, including the Honda Scholars program, which provides scholarship money for up to 120 undergraduates annually.

Deb Scherer, managing director of One Columbus, the economic development organization for the Columbus region, said the partnership is critical to keeping top talent in the community. She said that because the automotive industry is consistently driving a technological revolution, the connections between Honda, Ohio State and TRC are helping the region as a whole.

Source: Ohio State News

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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