Novi’s Omron Foundation Donates $1M to UM-Dearborn’s Engineering Lab Building


The University of Michigan-Dearborn today announced a gift of $1 million from the Omron Foundation Inc. in Novi to establish the Omron Robotics and Human Factors Lab in the university’s new Engineering Lab Building. The foundation also created the Omron Endowed Scholarship in Electrical Engineering.

UM-Dearborn and Omron officials announced the gift on campus during today’s groundbreaking ceremony for the $90-million project.

“We are grateful to the Omron Foundation for this historic investment in the future of engineering at UM-Dearborn,” says Daniel Little, chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. “Their support is key to this transformative project, which will advance our academic programs and expand our capacity for premier research and industry partnerships.”

The building is expected to open in summer 2020 and will include teaching labs, classrooms, and collaboration and project spaces. It will also provide opportunities for research partnerships with industry. Laboratories will allow for the study of power engineering, cybersecurity, human factors and robotics, and bioengineering. It will also allow for expanded K-12 and community outreach efforts, with a focus on women and minorities.

“Through the Omron Foundation, we are delighted to have the opportunity to support this amazing innovation investment at the University of Michigan-Dearborn,” says Nigel Blakeway, CEO of Omron Americas Corp. and president of the Omron Foundation. “At Omron, we continue to make revolutionary new developments in human robotics harmonization. With the vision and talented research teams ever evolving at UM-Dearborn, we are committed to not just this engineering lab, but the scholarship programs to support future generations of engineers fortunate enough to study in this impressive new environment.”

Designed by SmithGroupJJR Detroit, the project was approved in June 2016. One third of the project funding will come through the state of Michigan’s capital outlay budget, one third from bond financing, and the remainder from individual, corporate, and university support. Last year, the university announced a $1.3 million donation from University of Michigan regent Ronald N. Weiser and Eileen L. Weiser.

The completed building will include 123,000 square feet of space — 57,000 square feet of renovated space and 66,000 square feet of new space.

Omron Foundation Inc. coordinates the charitable efforts of Omron offices in the United States. Omron Corp. was established in 1933 and is based in Kyoto, Japan. It has about 36,000 employees worldwide, providing products and services in 117 countries. Its fields include industrial automation, electronic components, automotive electronics, social infrastructure systems, health care, and environmental solutions.

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