DETROIT – As auto manufacturing migrates to the Southern U.S., the region is strengthening its engineering capabilities to bolster the blossoming industry.

Clemson University of South Carolina is using this year’s Convergence International Congress on Transportation Electronics to alert the industry of a new graduate engineering center under construction in Greenville, the city that also serves as home to BMW AG’s sole U.S. manufacturing plant.

Last year, BMW donated $10 million to help endow the International Center for Automotive Research, to be located on 400 acres (161 ha) alongside Interstate 85.

The campus will be home to the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center (named for the former governor instrumental in bringing BMW to South Carolina a decade ago).

Clemson plans to recruit nine faculty and up to 50 graduate students. “Graduates will be prepared to meet the engineering and management challenges of designing and building a highly complex modern automobile,” the university says.

BMW also plans to occupy an 84,000-sq.-ft. (7,800-sq.-m) Information Technology Research Center at the campus. BMW will lease the $15 million facility, which will be owned by Clemson.

tmurphy@primediabusiness.com