NFPA's proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish an Engineering Research Center (ERC) for compact and efficient fluid power has received strong industry support.

To help win the $17.75 million, five-year NSF grant, seven universities involved in the ERC grant proposal have pledged $3.55 million. Forty-three companies have also pledged support. Support has also come from Ralph Rivera, past chairman of NFPA's Education Committee and chairman of NFPA's Board 2002-2003, the Fluid Power Educational Foundation, and NFPA. Total industry support is at $3,035,000.

Some companies have also offered discounted equipment and software for use in the universities. In-kind pledges have exceeded more than $500,000.

Four grants will be awarded by the NSF for work to begin in 2006. The ERC will be a network of schools and universities where research and education relevant to fluid power will be carried out. Funds would support research projects at six universities, with students and faculty working in three major areas: fluid power efficiency; compactness; and noise, vibration, leakage, and human factors.

The proposal has been submitted to NSF and grants will be awarded in 2006. For information contact Linda Western at (414) 778-3356 or lwestern@nfpa.com, or www.nfpa.com.