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Hoag appointed to third term as head of ERI

George Hoag, Ph.D. '83, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been appointed to a third term as director of the Environmental Research Institute.

ERI was started in 1987 to conduct research to advance environmental technologies and the understanding of natural systems that would help businesses and state agencies more effectively manage environmental concerns. The institute has tailored its research to produce spin-off products and licensing agreements with commercial potential for state companies. Researchers and graduate students either develop the technology themselves or test and improve those generated by businesses.

"We've made a lot of progress," Hoag said. "Some major growth has occurred. We've expanded our faculty involvement to get a more University-wide presence. In recent years, we have extended our significant interaction with state agencies through the Critical Technologies Program. We've been very successful in helping small businesses in the state and luring companies to Connecticut."

Halox Corp., a start-up chemical company, relocated to Bridgeport, Conn., from Texas in June to take advantage of the expertise at ERI.

"On a national scale, a lot of environmental research institutes have disappeared or have been significantly retracted in the past five years. During that time, we have grown. That's a testimony to the diversity of our work and funding," he said.

Hoag, who received his Ph.D. in environmental engineering from UConn in 1983, has been on the faculty here since 1987. He said he has high expectations for the future of ERI. The institute recently completed a strategic plan and will focus on creating a balance between fundamental and applied research.

"We're going to focus on how pollutants behave in the environment and on developing a better understanding of chemicals in the environment and solutions," he said. "This is where our faculty wish to focus and it will meet the needs of government and industry."

Renu Sehgal-Aldrich