Academia, industry bridge education gap

Academia, industry bridge education gap

By Judy Keller

Tempe, AZ — Educational offerings for contamination control professionals abound nationwide, covering everything from design and construction to basic cleanroom protocol and current federal standards.

“I`ve seen this trend toward more trained people during the last 10 years,” says Dennis Murphy, cleanroom manager for Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector in Chandler, AZ. “Training is more focused now, largely thanks to the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST). Also, there is a cross link between industry, academia and professional organizations such as IEST, so we`re seeing industry people who are IEST members teaching some of the courses out there. It`s a good alliance.”

For example, in 1995, management at Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector saw the need for more training and education of its construction workforce that build advanced wafer fabs. The company asked the Del. E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University (ASU) to start a program in cleanroom construction at its Tempe, AZ campus. Motorola provided the initial list of potential instructors for the course and provided access to the IEST Recommended Practice 12, Considerations in Cleanroom Design, the textbook for the course. Resources for the program came principally from local experts, who taught various segments of the course, according to Allan D. Chasey, assistant professor at the Del E. Webb School of Construction, ASU. “Using industry experts to teach the courses bridges the gap between academia and the industry,” Chasey says.

The school offers a graduate program, which covers the fundamentals of controlled environment construction, including facilities used for semiconductors, flat panel display and disk drive manufacturing. Chasey says that although the focus is microelectronics, the same concepts can be applied to the pharmaceutical industry.

Program in facilities construction

Under the auspices of the school`s Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE), a new construction research and education program in advanced technology facilities started at ASU (“Cooperative research center focuses on critical construction needs,” CleanRooms, May 1998, p. 1). The Construction Research and Education for Advanced Technology Environments (CREATE) is a consortium of 33 companies representing owners, designers, builders and suppliers and vendors established by ACE`s Cleanroom Task Force to spur research for ways to improve the delivery process of advanced technology facilities.

Improving project management

“This is the first time we have formally set up a research program to find ways to improve project management, to reduce the time of facility delivery from programming, design, construction and startup of production facilities to the start of manufacturing for controlled environment facilities,” Chasey explains. Projects already proposed for the center focus on design/build project management, building practices and advanced design tools. The research consortium already developed courses in cleanroom design and construction using the experience of industry in the classroom.

CREATE and ACE also sponsor several workshops and seminars on cleanroom construction and mechanical systems concepts and are developing ones on tool installation and fab retrofits.

ASU offers programs both with Del E. Webb School of Construction and through ACE. ACE is offering the following cleanroom-related events in the next few months: Cleanroom Construction, March 15 to 19; and “This Old Fab,” a workshop on renovating and retrofitting microprocessor fabrication facilities, April 26 to 30.

If it`s trained cleanroom technicians you need, then a program like the one at Brevard Community College (BCC) in Palm Bay, FL, is the place to find them. The college offers a 16-week, 4-credit certificate program in cleanroom technology. The credits can be applied toward associate`s degrees in microelectronics, electronics, or chemical instrumentation. The curriculum includes cleanroom contamination control and cleanroom procedures. That`s not all the college offers. The school recently built a $1.8 million, three-unit cleanroom (“Florida campus launches space-age cleanroom project,” CleanRooms, May 1998, p.1), and a facility that could house a large interferometer for testing liquid crystal display panels up to 43 inches square. The open-access cleanroom was a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Commerce`s Economic Development Administration, the Florida Department of Community Affairs` Energy office, the United States Display Consortium, the Southeast Display Center, and the Technological Research and Development Authority (TRDA). The TRDA was established by the Florida legislature to sponsor programs enhancing education, space research and economic development. Previously, only a few colleges — including Kent State University and the University of Michigan — had ventured into cleanrooms geared toward the flat panel display industry. But business is soft right now, and the economic payoffs aren`t as high as the schools expected. So places like Brevard are scrambling to make their programs pay off.

If Warren Kugelmann, director of Open-Access Cleanroom Operations, has his way, the BCC`s cleanroom space will be used by local industry both for manufacturing and testing and for training personnel and for scientific research. He hopes to keep the space actively used, starting with the first incubation client that will develop and manufacture a commercial particle fallout monitoring device for NASA.

Seminars and conferences

CleanRooms East `99, sponsored by Penn Well, the parent organization of this publication, takes place in Philadelphia next month and features a conference track on biotechnology, which is integrated with our editorial offerings in the March issue of CleanRooms magazine.

Biotechnology conference tracks include: establishing a microbiological environmental monitoring program; principles, practices and management of biological safety in cleanroom environments; control and validation of cleanroom disinfectants; designing the biotechnology cleanroom; and evaluating the microbial efficiency of cleanroom techniques.

CleanRooms conferences also include more general tracks, including introduction to clean manufacturing technology; cleanroom protocol — a detailed look; designing for cleanroom flexibility; cleanroom testing basics; and a new panel discussion, new ISO cleanroom standards: how do they affect your business?

Pharmaceutical workshops

The Society for Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Professionals (ISPE) also offers seminars and workshops related to contamination control. According to Vilma Martin, ISPE spokesperson, it`s critical for professionals to keep current on the latest regulations developments. “We put out a survey to our members, who are also in the industry, and they decide what seminars we offer. Our course content is definitely industry driven,” she says. ISPE`s Spring Meeting is June 6 to 8 in Arlington, VA, and at Interphex, Tokyo, Japan from June 16 to18. The barrier isolation technology course will have background information, technology updates, and case studies.

IEST classes

The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) of Mount Prospect, IL, will hold classes in Orlando at the Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel, February 22 to 23. On February 22, Robert Mielke will teach the class on New International Cleanroom Standards: ISO 14644-1 and -2. On February 23, John Weaver will teach Cleanroom Implementation, aimed at anyone involved in the planning, design or startup of a new cleanroom or the upgrade of an existing cleanroom.

According to Robert Predmore, the IEST`s educational vice president, the institute offers courses ranging from basic cleanroom protocol to advanced and recommended practice-based. The classes are generally offered at various “hubs” throughout the country, and there is some talk of making alliances with schools and colleges, rather than to offer them at hotels or convention centers, as many colleges now boast cleanroom facilities.

Judy Keller is a freelance writer in Milford, NH.

Contamination control training opportunities

ACE workshops and educational programs. Call 602-965-5324.

Brevard Community College programs. Call Ray Keys, 407-632-1111, ext. 22206.

CleanRooms conferences at CleanRooms East, CleanRooms West, CleanRooms Europe and CleanRooms Asia. Call Nuala Kimball at 603-891-9267.

CREATE educational opportunities. Call Allan Chasey at 602-965-7437.

IEST contamination control courses. Call 847-255-1561.

NEBB seminars. Visit the organization`s web site at

NEBB`s National Qualification Exams. Call Margaret Andrews at 301-977-3698.

The Society for Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Professionals (ISPE) seminars and workshops. Call 813-960-2105.


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