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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI, Korean Institute partner on pollution prevention

KINGSTON, R.I.-- April 18, 2000 -- The University of Rhode Island Center for Pollution Prevention and the Korean Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) today signed an agreement to collaborate on research and education initiatives involving industrial pollution prevention and cleaner production.

The agreement is in part a result of a trade mission to Asia made by Governor Lincoln Almond, URI faculty, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, and others in 1997.

"There were many successes from the trade mission to Asia in 1997, including laying the groundwork for this announcement," said Governor Lincoln Almond. "This agreement between URI and the Korean Institute will create a global partnership with the intent of reducing pollution and developing better environmental industry practices. This will also foster an educational relationship that will result in an exchange of important information and ideas. I look forward to the environmental gains this collaboration could bring about."

"Many environmental issues have global implications, so it is appropriate to collaborate on solutions with institutions on opposite sides of the globe," said URI President Robert L. Carothers. "This partnership will contribute significantly to future advances in environmental protection technologies and strategies."

A delegation of academics and government officials from South Korea, including representatives from KITECH's National Center for Cleaner Production (NCCP), visited Rhode Island in January 2000 to learn more about the state's environmental protection programs. Since the NCCP is similar to URI's Center for Pollution Prevention, a formal collaboration was proposed.

"The Korean government understands that changing the domestic industrial structure to an environment-friendly structure is the most urgent task in order to deal with the intensifying environmental concerns," said KITECH President Chong Ku Lee. "In an effort to expand NCCP's capabilities, we are looking forward to collaborating with URI on projects related to cleaner production and other environmental issues."

Although a formal, detailed work plan has not yet been established, the partnership agreement recommends such collaborations as the following:

1. Formation of a Joint Center for Pollution Prevention a setting for the Rhode Island and Korean partners to establish and promote initiatives related to cleaner production, environmental health and technology transfer.

2. Personnel Exchanges provisions for staff and students from either institution to visit the partner institution for the purposes of research, study, internships, and lecturing.

3. Cooperative Research collaborative research on such topics as biological and thermal treatment processes, membrane separation, water-based polymerization, supercritical technology, environmental health issues, and others.

4. Conferences, Seminars and Information Exchange mutual exchange of information via conferences and/or an information clearinghouse.

Several governmental agencies have also signed on to the agreement and will play an integral role in the partnership.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has supported pollution prevention activities at URI since 1989.

"We are honored to join our counterparts from South Korea in this collaborative effort," DEM Director Jan Reitsma said. "Protecting the environment through pollution prevention practices is a common goal that reaches across national boundaries. I am delighted that the partnership begun in 1997 is continuing to grow and has resulted in this joint Memorandum of Understanding."

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation serves as a liaison for the partnership between the business community and environmental agencies. EDC will also coordinate the technology transfer aspect of the collaboration as it is related to the export of Rhode Island products.

In South Korea, the Industrial Location and Environment Division of the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy has supported KITECH activities since 1995 and will also support the collaboration.

Governor Almond was joined by 13 Rhode Island businesses on the trade mission to Malaysia, Singapore and Korea. Approximately $8.3 million in new business was generated as a result of the 130 serious leads developed during the trip. Businesses participating received a customized schedule of one-on-one business appointments based on their individual objectives and requirements.

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For Information: Eugene Park 222-4700, x 4415 or 874-2655,
Todd McLeish 874-7892


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