Dow Chem to turn Pune unit into R&D hub

Look out, from over that hill marked ‘swag’ comes the public relations cavalry… ed.
Business Standard, February 2, 2008
Chemicals and polymers manufacturer Dow Chemicals plans to develop its Pune unit into a global research and development centre that will focus on a wide spectrum of products which give it an edge in the Indian and international market.
THINKING BIG
The unit would be a global research and development centre that will focus on a wide spectrum of products which give it an edge in the Indian and international market (so good they had to say it twice – ed.)
Ramesh Ramachandran, president and chief executive officer, Dow Chemicals International, said that the centre will be the first of its kind outside the US
The $54 billion giant believes that the wide talent base available in India and the network of Indian research institutions in the field of chemistry will help make the Centre of Excellence for chemistry research in Pune on par with its centres in the Unites States and a couple more proposed to be set up in Shanghai and Europe.
Ramesh Ramachandran, president and chief executive officer, Dow Chemicals International, said today that the centre, the first of its kind outside the US, will focus on discovering new molecules and develop novel applications for existing ones.
Dow Chemicals International is the Indian subsidiary of the Dow Chemicals which is based in Midland, Michigan in the US.
“The focus of the centre will be on energy conservation and water, as well as low-cost housing,” Ramachandran said. Efforts will be made to use agri-based feedstock to convert it into materials that can replace metals or other substances.
Ramachandran said the Pune centre will work on globally significant projects in process engineering and optimisation, numerical analysis and modelling, as well as applications development.
He underlined that the centre will be confined to research and development activity and there is no plan to manufacture chemicals here.
The company is looking at using simulation to cut short the time involved in the molecule discovery process.
The set up in Pune will be comparable with the best research institutions globally and it will be projected as the epicentre of future breakthroughs in the world of chemistry.
Ramachandran said it is intended to have about 500 scientists and researchers at the centre, and Dow will ensure facilities and an environment that will attract the best talent from across the world, especially Indians who wish to return to India.
The company has planned an outlay of Rs 400 crore ($100 million) to build the centre at Shinde village, near Chakan, 40 km from Pune, which will be operational by the middle of next year, Ramachandran said.
About the recent protests by local residents that had disrupted construction work at the site for the centre, he said company executives were talking to community representatives to explain the plans and allay fears of any risk to the environment and livestock.
“Dow did have a connection with Union Carbide, which was in the eye of the storm following the Bhopal gas tragedy, but the company now had nothing to do with Union Carbide whose assets and business had been sold to three separate entities a long time ago,” he explained.
Ramachandran said that the company was also got in touch with the state government and was hopeful of an amicable settlement soon. He said the stoppage of work would not disturb the company’s implementation schedule significantly.

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