Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Revved up: Hyundai engineers head to UCD

Woong-chul Yang, vice chairman of research and development at the Hyundai Motor Corp., and UC Davis professor emeritus Don Margolis tour the new Hyundai Center of Excellence in Vehicle Dynamic Systems and Control during Tuesday's ribbon-cutting event on campus. Yang earned his doctorate from UCD in 1986 and studied under Margolis, among other engineering professors. Margolis and professor emeritus Dean Karnopp will co-direct the center. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | June 12, 2013 |

UC Davis and Hyundai Motor Corp. on Tuesday turned the ignition on the first-ever corporate-funded center on campus.

The world’s fourth-largest automaker will send eight of its engineers at a time to learn and carry out research, much like graduate students, support student research and give students a chance to rub elbows with professionals.

The company has made a three-year commitment to the project, dubbed the Hyundai Center of Excellence in Vehicle Dynamic Systems and Control.

“The goal is twofold: to operate an academic-training program and conduct research projects designed to make Hyundai vehicles safer, better-handling and more fun to drive,” said Enrique Lavernia, dean of the College of Engineering, at a ribbon-cutting inside Bainer Hall.

Hyundai will spend $940,000 on the center in its first year, including the renovation of office space and a conference room.

The first group of company engineers arrived in January. They’ll be on campus until October.

“I would like to say that this is only the beginning, and that the Hyundai-Kia Motor Company will provide continued support to make this center as successful as possible and to leave a very solid milestone for great partnership between industry and academia,” said Woong-chul Yang, vice chairman of the company’s research and development division.

“I believe that this center will not only train our engineers, but spur the excitement and passion of engineering students at UC Davis by giving them exposure to industry.”

Yang earned his doctorate from UCD in 1986. Returning to Davis is “really emotional,” he said.

“I’m so proud and excited to have this event at the place I got my Ph.D. under the guidance of professor Dean Karnopp and professor Don Margolis, who made me who I am now,” Yang said.

Karnopp and Margolis, both professors emeritus, will co-direct the center. Assistant professor Jae Wan Park and Zac Sabato will act as associate directors.

The presence of the company engineers is a boon to the department of mechanical space engineering, which is home to 32 full-time faculty, 150 graduate students and 350 undergraduates.

Said Lavernia: “I cannot over-stress the significance of such industry involvement with higher education, which grants our students and faculty real-world engagement, helps our graduates become better employees, fast-tracks laboratory research to commercial production and ensures that our academic curriculum more precisely serves the needs of the economy and society.”

Hyundai builds hybrid, fuel cell and electric cars, so as problems emerge with new technology, faculty and students will be able to work alongside the company’s engineers to solve them.

The college’s Institute for Transportation Studies works with a who’s who of major auto manufacturers on sustainable transportation issues, but the number of engineers Hyundai has sent to campus is something new.

Its engineers also will be able to get to know engineers from other companies on the “neutral ground” of the campus, Lavernia said.

“There’s a recognition (on the part of industry) that there’s a big need for engineering students and faculty and staff. I think companies are starting to realize that they need to come to the universities,” he said.

The college is currently in talks with an aerospace company about a similar initiative.

Such arrangements also should be a plus for student recruitment. “They see the name, they see the space and they want to work in it,” Lavernia said.

Not that the College of Engineering is sorely in need of help in that regard: This year, it attracted about 11,000 applications for 720 freshman slots and 1,500 for 175 transfer slots.

The campus plans to add 5,000 students by 2020. Because engineering students make up about 16 percent of students, the college likely will make up a similar proportion of new faculty hires, Lavernia said.

A bigger task ahead will be remodeling and adding buildings and other infrastructure, for which state funding has dried up. That’s where corporate partners like Hyundai are likely to play an increasing role, he said.

“That’s the greatest challenge for us and for the campus,” Lavernia said.

— Reach Cory Golden at cgolden@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    California extends review of $25B delta plan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

     
    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Travel buddy is getting too fat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics