IPRIME's History

The Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and Materials Engineering (IPRIME) grew out of the legacy of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Interfacial Engineering (CIE).

CIE was a National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) founded in 1988 with support from the University of Minnesota, NSF, and member companies. CIE received the maximum 11 years of support from the NSF’s ERC program.  In response to strong industrial interest at the end of the NSF funding period, IPRIME was created not only to maintain the collaborative research already underway, but also to extend the partnership to other programs including those supported by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) established in 1998 under a NSF grant.

CIE’s major legacies include:

Establishment of the Characterization Facility with the investment of over $7 million in research instrumentation.

The involvement of 860 students in CIE research and educational programs.

393 Ph.D. degrees and 59 Master’s degrees granted to CIE students.

The publication of over 1,400 papers in interfacial engineering by Center researchers.

The involvement of 114 Industrial Fellows from member companies in Center research.

The emphasis of 11 research areas in its five research program areas.

The production of six textbooks in the series “Advances in Interfacial Engineering,“which have sold well over 10,000 copies.

The development of the Multidisciplinary Engineering Curriculum Testbed (MECT) for creating computer-based instructional modules and materials in Interfacial Engineering, Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, and Thermodynamics. (Visit WESEECO, Engineering Education Systems, for more information.)

Most significantly, CIE fostered a culture of integrated research, education, and industrial interaction that continues in IPRIME and MRSEC.