The Linde Group has announced it is to enter a joint research project with the University of Glasgow and the Gesellschaft fur Unternehmensgeschichte (GUG, Society for Business History) of Frankfurt, to examine the economic and technological importance of the international industrial gases industry.

A team of scholars, under the leadership of Glasgow-based business historian Ray Stokes, will look at sources and materials from around the world, as well as interviewing representatives from some of the most influential corporations in the industry.

Professor Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO of Linde AG, spoke of the impact of the industrial gases industry and the study ahead.
He said, $quot;Over time and to the present day, industrial gases have changed - often without being noticed - entire lines of industry and ways of life. A modern food supply would be fully inconceivable without the use of nitrogen, or a medical treatment in a hospital unimaginable without oxygen. We're allowing objective, independent scholars to extensively study the importance of the industry, and are demonstrating the contribution that industrial gases have made to the development of modern national economies up until now, and the contribution they will be making in the future.$quot;

Ray Stokes, director of the Centre for Business History at the University of Glasgow, commented, $quot;For me, the most fascinating aspect of this research project is that there hasn't ever been a study this comprehensive before of this industry.$quot;

The Society for Business History will be closely involved in the project's progress in a number of ways, acting as organisational host for a postdoctoral research fellow and co-ordinating the project board monitoring the progress on the project, as well as other involvements.

$quot;This project will open up a whole new dimension of research in business history. Until now, businesses have mainly allowed scholars to study their own corporate history, which leads to a somewhat limited viewpoint. Linde is taking a new path and is letting independent scholars investigate the entire industry,$quot; said Professor Dr. Werner Plumpe, chairman of the Scientific Council of the Society.

$quot;I think it shows that this company is aware of its social responsibility, and that it can think outside its own box,$quot; added Plumpe, speaking of Linde's involvement in the project.

As part of its support for the project, Linde is funding a PhD studentship to the University of Glasgow and will also be funding the postdoctoral research fellow.

Ray Stokes and his team are to publish the results of the 4-year research project in the form of a readable scholarly study, which aims to be the standard work on the subject and is to be published and available in both German and English.