Fluid Power Industry Reviews, Selects Research Projects for CCEFP-Part 2
by Eric Lanke
One of the most common questions I get about the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) is how do they pick which research projects to fund. It’s a question I love answering, because it’s a welcome surprise for many to learn that it is the fluid power industry, not academia, that provides the majority of input into making this decision.
In Part 1 of this series, I introduced the group of industry professionals within the CCEFP called the Industry Engagement Committee. Since we began providing financial support from the NFPA Foundation and its new Pascal giving and recognition society to the CCEFP, seats on this committee have been extended to Silver and Gold donors in the Pascal Society. The industry members of the committee elect their own leadership, with the current chair being Eric Bretey of Danfoss and the current vice chair being QingHui Yuan of Eaton.
One of the jobs of the committee is to identify the research topics that CCEFP projects should focus on. Once that is done and the various proposals that align with those prioritized topics have come in, their second major job comes into play—reviewing and selecting those that will actually get funded. And they use a fairly robust process to do that. First, they align industry reviewers with the appropriate expertise with each corresponding cluster of research proposals. Industry professionals from pneumatics companies, for example, should not be asked review hydraulic research proposals, and vice versa. So, there is a fair amount of sorting that goes on, making sure the work of reviewing the proposals is divided equally among the committee members and that each committee member reviews the proposals that are clearly within his/her wheelhouse.