Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research

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The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is an advanced technology research campus where academia, industry and government organizations collaborate on automotive research. The 250-acre campus in Greenville, S.C is composed of five technology neighborhoods, each designed uniquely for optimizing an innovative and collaborative environment.


CU-ICAR's Millennium Campus is home to the Clemson University Department of Automotive Engineering, where graduate students can earn a master’s of science (M.S.) or doctoral (Ph.D.) degree in automotive engineering. The program blends intense technical study and creation of strong engineering science-based skills with an emphasis on leadership and other business acumen needed to thrive in a global economy. The hands-on, holistic approach ensures that graduates move seamlessly into employment. Ninety-three percent of the alumni are using their degrees in either the automotive industry or academia. Forty-four percent of the graduate alumni are gainfully employed in South Carolina. This a testament to the state's growing knowledge-based economy and demand for educated talent.


CU-ICAR's research portfolio is driven by industry needs. Continuous analysis of the market and feedback from industry partners, leaders and automotive companies is used to determine the focus of R&D. Based on that knowledge, the research clusters and "technology identity" of CU-ICAR is centered in the following five areas:

  • Advanced powertrains
  • Vehicular electronics
  • Manufacturing and materials
  • Vehicle to vehicle infrastructure
  • Vehicle performance including human factors

Economic Development

Clemson provides the Partnership Office on the CU-ICAR campus focused solely on ensuring unparalleled economic development benefits. The Partnership Office team consists of business development, real estate, marketing and partnership management functions all dedicated to making connections between automotive companies within the CU-ICARand or state ecosystem and programmatically linking automotive companies to Clemson Universities faculty and research expertise.

Awards & Recognition

The success and transferability of the CU-ICAR public/private model are already evidenced by prestigious organizations such as the National Academies of Sciences who have named it one of the five best global practices. CU-ICAR was also awarded the Association of University Research Parks Emerging Science and Technology Park Award for North America in 2009. Locally, the core successful components of the CU-ICAR model are being used as a template for development of Clemson University’s Restoration Institute (CURI) where the world’s largest wind turbine test facility is under development. The goal is to make CURI the University’s “energy campus” equally effective in improving the competitiveness of the wind energy industry as CU-ICAR is for the automotive industry.

CU-ICAR has recently garnered another prestigious award. For its role in regional economic development, the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) recognized CU-ICAR with its Excellence in Tech-Based Economic Development award for improving competitiveness of existing industries. Six organizations were named winners of the institute's 2012 Excellence award for investing in science, technology and innovation to grow their local and regional economies. State Science and Technology Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Berglund said CU-ICAR exemplifies a comprehensive, strategic initiative that connects a research university, key industry partners and government at all levels to increase the competitiveness of a key regional industry and develop the work force necessary to support it.

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