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The SUNY-ESF Cellulose Research Institute

About the CRI

The Cellulose Research Institute's (CRI) mission is to stimulate development and dissemination of new fundamental knowledge about cellulose and related biopolymers leading to their increased utilization.


In the early 1950s, George Schneider, then Senior Vice-President of the Celanese Corporation of America, conceived the idea of an independent, industry-sponsored Cellulose Research Institute located at a university. During 1953, Dr. Bjorn Andersen, Vice-President-Technical Director of the Celanese Corporation and Dr. Emil Ott, Director of Research for the Hercules Powder Co., canvassed a number of institutions in a search for a suitable home in this project. They found that their proposal fitted the philosophy of the College regarding cooperation in research. They agreed, after careful study, to support such an Institute at the College. The Buckeye Cellulose Co., the American Viscose Corp., and the International Paper Co. also joined in supporting the Cellulose Research Institute. Other firms later contributed to the Institute, which started its research in February, 1957.

The primary objective of the Cellulose Research Institute is to provide fundamental knowledge about cellulose, which should lead to its increased utility. This research is closely integrated with the academic program of the College.

The "Cellulose Conferences", have been held intermittently since 1958, and have attracted leading scientists from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan. These have contributed to the significance of the Institute as a center for the training of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

The first Director was Dr. J. J. Hermans. When he left the College, Dr. Tore Timell was appointed. Upon his retirement in 1994, Dr. Anatole Sarko became Acting Director and in 1998 William T Winter assumed the Directorship.

Based on Dr. Conrad Schuerch's History of Chemistry at SUNY-ESF, Chapter II, History of the Middle Years, 1956-1984.