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University of Petroleum & Energy Studies and Grasim Industries initiate academic collaboration

University of Petroleum & Energy Studies (UPES) today announced signing a collaboration with Grasim Industries Limited (Pulp and Fibre Business, Aditya Birla Group) to introduce cellulosic material research programs for aspiring students. Grasim R&D will provide opportunity to selected UPES students for working at their state of art research facilities as part of UPES graduate research programs. Technical experts and scientists from Grasim R&D will support UPES design curriculum for the programs, for example through visits of select faculty of the University to get exposure to industrial process and problems solving. Such facilitation of imparting up to date technical knowledge in cellulosic materials and technologies will help further the relevance of academic education to industrial practice.

Sh. Dilip Gaur, Managing Director, Grasim Industries Ltd., welcomed this initiative saying “This is a right step directed towards developing a unique educational model where industry and academia collaborate to identify, educate and groom highly skilled technical talent. And our industry benefits from fresh thoughts of young minds that will spend a good part of their curriculum with our R&D”.

Commenting on this collaboration, Dr. Aspi Patel, CTO, Pulp & Fibre business, said “Aditya Birla Group’s Pulp & Fibre business derives its competitive edge from its integrated business model, which spans the entire value chain from wood to fiber to garments. Cellulosic materials are growing rapidly in industrial applications as a green alternative to synthetic polymers and materials. In our industry there is a growing requirement of suitable technical talent to take up new and interesting challenges. We appreciate and support the UPES initiative of encouraging students for working in this important field. This enables better integration of academic research with solving industrial problems in cellulosic applications. We believe that this partnership will be mutually beneficial, helping students get an exposure to industrial research, and providing an expanding pool of future talent to support the growth of Indian textile industry.”

The Aditya Birla Group is the world's leading producer of viscose staple fiber (VSF).  The Company’s in-house R&D is focused on new product development, sustainable processes, product performance enhancement, quality improvement and reduction in environment and energy footprint. Their laboratories are equipped with world-class equipment for viscose making, fiber spinning, characterization and processing of cellulose fibers.

The young intern engineers from UPES, with their inquisive and enthusiastic minds, have been encouraged to work on problems which are fundamental in nature but at the same time have direct industrial applicability. This has helped to explore unique solutions to the technical challenges of pulp and cellulosic fiber technology.

Pulp & Fibre Business - Aditya Birla Group:

The Aditya Birla Group commenced production of viscose staple fibre (VSF) in 1954 at Nagda, in Madhya Pradesh, India. The business straddles eight countries and has grown steadily over these six decades to achieve global leadership with a 19 per cent market share. The Pulp & Fibre business derives its competitive edge from its integrated business model, which spans the entire value chain.  Vertical integration into plantation, manufacturing of rayon grade pulp and horizontal integration into production of caustic soda, a principal raw material required for VSF production, intermediate inputs like CS2, sulphuric acid along with captive power and steam generation facilities, further enhance its competitive edge.

The Group's Pulp & Fibre business, under the umbrella brand name of Birla Cellulose, has unleashed an ambitious growth plan for a capacity expansion in the coming years, from the current 1 million TPA. Going forward, the Pulp and Fibre business will intensify its focus and strengthen its specialty portfolio towards value-added, green textile solutions for the future. As part of its strategy to secure a substantive part of its specialty pulp through its captive source, the Group acquired Domsjo Fabriker in 2011, a world-class pulp facility in Sweden, followed by the acquisition of the Terrace Bay Pulp Mill in Canada in 2012.