Wins One Of Four New National Science Foundation Centers
27, 2000 -- The National Science Foundation (NSF)
announced today it will establish four new Materials Research Science
and Engineering Centers (MRSECs), including one at the University
of Virginia, that will explore innovative materials and further
the integration of research and education in the field of materials
addition to the center at U.Va., funded with a $5 million grant,
the three other new centers will be located at the California Institute
of Technology, the University of Oklahoma/University of Arkansas
and Pennsylvania State University. The NSF will invest $24 million
in the centers over five years.
pleased and gratified at this vote of confidence by the NSF," said
Richard W. Miksad, dean of U.Va.s School of Engineering and
Applied Science. " Only 20 or so of these grants are in effect at
any given time and we were selected to receive one in vigorous competition
with the nation's top research universities."
Materials Research Science and Engineering Center grant will strengthen
U.Va.s position at the forefront of materials research in
areas ranging from novel electronic devices to fabrication of materials
at the atomic level. It also will serve as an educational resource
for both high school and university students, said Robert Hull,
principal investigator and professor of materials science and engineering.
center will allow us to recruit two new outstanding young faculty
members and bring together about 10 current faculty members from
several departments," Hull said. "The funds also will allow a dozen
top graduate students to work in the center, as well as providing
research experience for several dozen undergraduates."
Center for Nanoscopic Design at the University of Virginia will
explore theassembly of highly perfected nanoscale structures. Applications
include quantum dot electronics, biological templating and nanoscale
control of electrochemical reactions.
award is granted initially for five years with continued NSF support
possible after a competitive review. The new centers also will seek
support from state government and private industry.
MRSEC award to U.Va.s Materials Science Department, which
is ranked 21st in the country in the most recent U.S.
News & World Report study, provides a firm foundation on which
the Engineering School plans to build. The school is planning to
raise $14 million in new funding to construct a building to house
the new center, according to Miksad. As currently envisioned, the
new structure will rise three stories high and cover 40,000 square
feet, linking two existing buildings, Materials Science and Engineering,
and Chemical Engineering.
attributed U.Va.s success in winning the MRSEC grant
to an interdisciplinary team effort with important contributions
from John Bean, professor of electrical engineering; James Groves,
Robert A. Johnson, Gary Shiflet and Haydn Wadley, professors of
materials science and engineering; Joe Poon, professor of physics;
and Carolyn Vallas, director of the Engineering School's Office
of Minority Programs.
from IBM Research also played a central role in securing the grant,
to the NSF, the new centers mission is to work closely with
industry to identify and address key obstacles to future materials
development. Much of the work takes place at the nanoscale level
about 1,000th the width of a human hair -- which
requires specialized equipment and expertise to create new properties
wth the potential to revolutionize consumer and industrial products.
products of modern materials research impact our economy and our
everyday lives," said Thomas Weber, director of NSF's Division of
Materials Research. "The centers address fundamental science and
engineering problems in the creation of new materials. They also
provide students a highly interdisciplinary education that is prized
by potential employers in industry, academia and government."
currently supports 29 MRSECs with a total annual investment of $52.5
center focuses on a specialized area such as polymers, biomolecular,
electronic or superconducting materials. They integrate their research
and educational programs by involving students in research activities
and contributing courses and materials to the academic institutions.
advances that have come out of MRSECs include new types of magnetic
devices for information storage, nanoparticle assemblies linked
by DNA, a superelastic form of the widely used plastic polypropylene
and the ability to induce chemical reactions on a chip.
also announced new awards for 11 existing materials centers, for
a total of $110 million over five years. They are located at Brown
University, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Carnegie
Mellon University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University,
the University of Maryland/Rutgers University, Northwestern University,
the University of Pennsylvania, State University of New York at
Stony Brook and the University of Wisconsin.
Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858