Dearborn, Michigan – Ford has awarded 13 research program grants to 12 universities around the globe, varying in scope from in-vehicle safety alert systems for diabetic drivers, to studying the environmental and economic impact of electric vehicle batteries.

The universities include Wayne State in Detroit, Michigan; Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; RWTH Aachen University in Aachen, Germany; and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

The new projects add to a research portfolio that now comprises 30 studies in partnership with 26 universities globally.

“Research collaborations are a driving force behind the innovations bringing consumers to Ford, and will be crucial to keep them coming back,” said Gerhard Schmidt, chief technical officer and vice-president of Ford research and advanced engineering. “The spirit of collaboration fostered by initiatives such as the Ford University Research Program maximizes our chances of developing relevant technologies our customers want and value.”

Ford has fine-tuned the objective of the program, moving it away from more exploratory and long-term university research to highly collaborative projects focused on more near- and mid-term implementation potential. The company said the move has made competition for the grants much tougher; for the latest program, Ford reviewed more than 70 high-quality project proposals but only approved thirteen.

Over the past two decades, projects that have produced fruitful results for Ford include those in the fields of alternative power systems, engineering and safety, environmental issues, electrical and electronics, manufacturing and quality, and powertrain. In the late 1990s, Ford awarded a grant to the University of Illinois to study how to control and reduce diesel emissions, specifically NOx levels. That joint research was critical to the development of the aftertreatment system now used on the 6.7-litre Power Stroke diesel in the 2011 Ford Super Duty pickup truck.

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