June 8, 2006 — Small Times magazine has listed the University of Virginia among the top 10 universities in the country for the strength of its micro- and nanotechnology programs in its second annual survey of research universities.
Based on the responses from more than 50 universities on five key categories — research, education, facilities, industrial outreach and commercialization — U.Va.’s overall score placed it in a tie for sixth with the University of North Carolina. In the individual categories, U.Va. tied for third in commercialization with Rice and was fifth in research.
Small Times is a business publication covering the fast-emerging nanotechnology, MEMS and microsystems markets.
James H. Aylor, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science said, “I am thrilled by this news. At the U.Va. Engineering School we are striving to put not only the research and education programs, but also the specialized facilities in place to establish us among the very best engineering schools in the critically important field of nanotechnology. This recognition is evidence of the fact that we are moving in the right direction.
The top 10 in the Small Times survey comprises (in descending order) University at Albany-SUNY, Cornell University, University of Michigan, Rice University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Ohio State University, Northwestern University and University of Minnesota. The survey included questions about facilities, funding, courses, degrees, research programs, publishing, patenting, company formation, industrial partnerships and more.
Writing about the University's strength in this emerging field, Small Times singled out Michael Reed, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Robert Hull, the Charles Henderson Professor of Engineering and director of the Institute for Nanoscale Quantum Engineering, Science and Technology (NanoQuest), noting that they “independently have contributed to the University of Virginia's prominence in micro- and nanotechnology. The two are among the roughly 100 researchers on campus involved in micro- and nanotechnology, and can claim some of the honors for the University's strong placing in micro- and nanotech research and commercialization.”
In response to the ranking, Hull said, “I am deeply gratified that U.Va.’s emerging excellence in nanoscale and quantum science was recognized in the results from Small Times’ recent survey. The outstanding research and educational activities of numerous U.Va. faculty, staff and students have enabled us to achieve this recognition.”
The article cites Reed's recent patent on a sensitive infrared radiation sensor he co-invented with his colleague Travis Blalock, and describes Hull's research on electronic materials, thin film growth and self-assembly. Reed noted that there are numerous other activities at U.Va. revolving around nanotechnology.
“For example, last year we received a major award from the National Science Foundation to study nanoporous metal alloys, which are metal materials that look like sponges, only much smaller,” Reed said. A local startup company that Reed co-founded, Setagon Inc., is developing these materials for applications as biomedical device coatings.
Nanotechnology, which involves making devices on the atomic and molecular level with applications in computer, medical, military and even textile industries, was targeted for excellence in the University's 2020 strategic planning initiative. The recognition of nanoscale and quantum science as imperative to U.Va.’s prominence in science and engineering has attracted high-profile faculty members, such as Joe Campbell, the Lucien Carr III Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Stuart Wolf, professor of materials science and engineering and physics. In connection with this initiative, the School of Engineering and Applied Science has acquired extensive state-of-the-art instrumentation and is in the final construction stages of a new nanotechnology facility — Wilsdorf Hall — scheduled for completion in September 2006.
About the School of Engineering and Applied Science
Founded in 1836, the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science combines research and educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Within the undergraduate programs, courses in engineering, ethics, mathematics, the sciences and the humanities are available to build a strong foundation for careers in engineering and other professions. Its abundant research opportunities complement the curriculum and educate young women and men to become thoughtful leaders in technology and society. At the graduate level, the Engineering School collaborates with the University's highly ranked College of Arts & Sciences and medical and business schools on interdisciplinary research projects and entrepreneurial initiatives. With a distinguished faculty and a student body of 2,000 undergraduates and 650 graduate students, the Engineering School offers an array of engineering disciplines, including cutting-edge research programs in computer and information science and engineering, bioengineering and nanotechnology. For more information, visit www.seas.virginia.edu.