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James Oliver, Mechanical Engineering, (515) 294-2649
Ann Wilson, Iowa State University Foundation, (515) 294-9608
Jan Brown, EDS PLM Solutions, (541) 465-2028
Pam Reinig, Engineering Communications, (515) 294-0261
Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720


Grant will help engineering students gain practical experience with the same product lifecycle management technologies used by leading global manufacturers

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University and EDS officials today announced an in-kind software grant that will prepare Iowa State engineering graduates to more quickly and productively enter the corporate world.

EDS PLM Solutions will provide Iowa State with industry leading software tools for product lifecycle management (PLM) with a commercial value of $282 million. The in-kind grant is the largest in Iowa State University history.

The EDS PLM Solutions grant will allow students to gain practical experience with the full range of PLM technologies, including computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), computer-aided engineering (CAE), visualization, digital manufacturing, collaboration, product data management (PDM) and engineering process management. Students will be able to use the EDS software to create complete product models, simulate their operation, and quantitatively evaluate their performance.

"This is a great day for Iowa State University, and we thank the people of EDS for making it happen. This industry-leading software will have a very significant and positive impact on all three aspects of our mission as Iowa's land-grant university. It will help us do an even better job of preparing students to get top jobs in industry. It will help us meet the critical research needs of industry. And it will provide the technology to help Iowa industries be more competitive and achieve a higher return on investment," said Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy.

The College of Engineering last year launched an initiative to become one of the top 20 engineering programs in the nation. Support from external partners is a critical component of the "Reach for the Top" initiative, said engineering Dean James L. Melsa.

"This grant is proof that our effort is gaining momentum," Melsa said. "It sends a clear message that Iowa State is committed to becoming a premiere program, and EDS PLM Solutions is helping us make that happen by providing software that will give our students a critical edge in the marketplace."

James Oliver, associate professor of mechanical engineering, has been working the past several months with EDS PLM Solutions and Iowa State University Foundation officials to secure the grant. Oliver characterized the software as a "concept-to-completion solution," meaning that it can be used to create products and manage the product lifecycle from concept through design, analysis, testing, manufacturing, service and retirement.

"Iowa State students will have the same computer tools used by contemporary engineers in Fortune 100 companies such as General Motors, Ford, Lockheed Martin, Deere & Company and Boeing," Oliver said. "This grant will allow us to build entire programs around state-of-the-art software, the tools our students will use to make a living."

The software has greatest application for engineering students and Institute for Physical and Research Technology (IPRT) centers, but it may also benefit other colleges at Iowa State, Oliver noted, particularly business and design.

Iowa State University is among a number of institutions that have received multi-million dollar software grants from EDS. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.; Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.; Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va., are among the organizations that have received academic grants from EDS.

EDS PLM Solutions provides academic grants to help universities, such as Iowa State, use leading-edge technology to provide greater value to their communities and broader career development opportunities to students. This also helps to ensure a talented base of candidates who can help regional and global manufacturers become more competitive, said Mike Sellberg, director of product management for EDS PLM Solutions.

"EDS PLM Solutions is pleased to provide this grant to Iowa State University," Sellberg said. "Today's leading manufacturers compete on the basis of time to market, product cost, quality and innovation. Students must have the opportunity to gain experience with technology that supports these objectives."

PLM Solutions, an EDS subsidiary, was formed in 2001 when EDS acquired and merged two independent software companies: Unigraphics Solutions (which had acquired Ames-based Engineering Animation, Inc., in October 2000) and Structural Dynamics Research Corporation. Engineering Animation, Inc., was co-founded by ISU's James Bernard, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of engineering and director of the Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC).

The grant, made through the Iowa State University Foundation, reflects needs identified by the university, plus extra software licenses to cover anticipated growth. Grants to Iowa State are expected to recur annually as EDS renews and updates the software.

About EDS
EDS, the premier global outsourcing services company, delivers superior returns to clients through its cost-effective, high-value services model. EDS' core portfolio comprises information-technology and business process outsourcing services, as well as IT transformation services. EDS subsidiaries include A.T. Kearney, one of the world's leading high-value management consultancies, and PLM Solutions, a leader in product data management, collaboration and product design software. With 2002 revenue of $21.5 billion, EDS is ranked 80th on the Fortune 500. The company's stock is traded on the New York (NYSE: EDS) and London stock exchanges. Learn more at

About Iowa State University
Iowa State is a Carnegie Doctoral/Research-Extensive university, a designation reserved for universities that offer a wide variety of baccalaureate programs and graduate studies through the doctorate. Iowa State is ranked among "The Top 50 Public National Universities" by U.S. News & World Report. Current enrollment is 27,380. It is the birthplace of the world's first electronic digital computer (the Atanasoff-Berry Computer) and the United States' first six-sided virtual reality theater, the C6, located at the Virtual Reality Applications Center. VRAC facilities are applied in a broad variety of applications in science, engineering and the humanities.

Iowa State University aspires to become the best university in the nation in fulfilling its land-grant responsibilities. A commitment to excellence in science, technology and the liberal arts attracts undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and 113 countries to the campus in Ames, Iowa.


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