Sometimes events in the business world happen and everyone loo

CATEGORY: EDT Editorials


Sometimes events in the business world happen and everyone looks around asking, “What took so long?”

The budding presence of the Mississippi Polymer Institute in Northeast Mississippi makes sense from every angle science, business and manufacturing technology.

The MPI, as it’s called, moves into the region as a branch ± the first branch of the University of Southern Mississippi’s nationally recognized program. Polymer science deals broadly with many things most people take for granted on a daily basis like the foam in cushions of household furniture and plastics used in ordinary and extraordinary activities.

The MPI branch in Tupelo had a natural magnet in our region’s thriving furniture manufacturing business and still expanding possibilities in the rest of Northeast Mississippi diverse industrial base. The university-based enterprise combines academic research with practical applications useful almost immediately in business and industry. It is a wedding of business and academia that other Mississippi-university programs could and should emulate.

The polymer institute itself is a creation of the Legislature. Its 1993 beginnings are pegged to the presence in Mississippi of about 400-polymer-related industries. The polymer science department at USM long has been a national leader in research, so state involvement to extend and expand and enhance what was being learned by scientists in Mississippi made perfect sense.

Polymers, in a nutshell, can be used in ways too numerous to mention and probably in ways still only a gleam in someone’s intellectual eye. It is justifiably promoted as one of the most versatile materials in the world because of its adaptability to many uses.

The polymer institute’s presence in Northeast Mississippi is designed to expand the basic product’s diversity by producing prototype parts from various kinds of polymers. The prototypes then serve as the model for working components made from other materials. The development process sometimes requires only a few hours thanks to advanced computer technologies.

The university sited its Northeast Mississippi operation on Itawamba Community College’s Tupelo Campus. The choice should prove appropriate and productive because ICC is a leader in providing direct services to Northeast Mississippi industries. A cooperative effort with USM opens new doors for both institutions and new opportunities for many Northeast Mississippi industries.

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