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Who we are

NORA – North America Open Research Alliance

BASF, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst have established a strategic research initiative called BASF’s "North America Open Research Alliance".

The goal is to work jointly on research projects to generate a better fundamental understanding in the fields of interest to BASF and to develop next generation technologies. NORA strives to solve the most demanding materials-, chemistry- and biology-related problems and to explore opportunities in data science and machine learning. To achieve this, we make use of the high level of creativity and strong expertise at BASF and our partner institutions and encourage an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems.

At NORA we typically work on more than 20 projects at the three universities. Recent key research fields are advanced materials, 3D printing, micro- and nanostructures, smart interfaces, new formulation concepts, digitalization, autonomous learning for chemistry, catalysis, synthetic biology, alternative toxicology and sustainability - including work on microplastics and biodegradation. More than 30 postdocs and students and 17 faculty members are involved in these projects and are closely collaborating with key experts within BASF. We also have strong ties to the largest cleantech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs, which is based nearby in Somerville, MA.

It is a truly interdisciplinary approach; scientists and engineers from several disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, and computer science collaborate in this research initiative. The academic partners not only provide expertise in  their fields, but also offer new and sometimes disruptive approaches to conducting research.

Besides fundamental scientific knowledge, BASF researchers contribute the necessary experience in transforming research results into technically feasible processes and products. In addition, they provide input about technology needs in different industries and applications. Any ideas and topics to be researched are decided jointly by the researchers participating in the initiative.

Scientific Advisory Board

David Weitz, Harvard University
George Whitesides, Harvard University
Bob Langer, MIT
Todd Emrick, UMass Amherst
Alan Lesser, UMass Amherst
Richard Trethewey, BASF
Bernhard von Vacano, BASF  

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Thomas Holcombe
Thomas Holcombe
Head of NORA
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