U of M receives $16.8 million for materials research center

The University of Minnesota Materials Research Science and Engineering Center announced that it has received $16.8 million in renewed funding over the next six years from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The University of Minnesota is one of only 14 other universities nationwide, including MIT and Harvard, to be chosen to receive NSF funding this year for a materials research center.

The University of Minnesota’s multifaceted research center was established a decade ago to conduct cutting-edge materials and nanotechnology research that enables important areas of future technology, ranging from biomedicine and electronics to security and renewable energy. Science and engineering faculty and students study the specific properties of various materials to improve everyday items such as adhesives, data storage devices and lighting. The research center works with more than 35 companies that contribute directly to research through intellectual, technological and financial support.

“This funding from NSF is a vote of confidence that our materials research at the University of Minnesota is important and relevant on a national scale,” said Timothy Lodge, director of the U of M Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. “Other supporting research facilities at the U of M in nanotechnology, characterization and computation analysis and support from industry gave us an important edge in this very competitive funding process.”

In addition to research, the center’s activities are integrated with educational programs, providing interdisciplinary training of students and postdoctoral candidates. Researchers pursue international collaborations and student exchanges with leading research labs in Asia and Europe.

“Graduate education tends to be narrowly focused for most students, but that’s not the case here,” Lodge said. “For example, our center offers a chance for a student in chemistry to learn what is happening in physics or mechanical engineering. Since many companies rely on a multidisciplinary, globally aware workforce, the experience our students gain from working with researchers in different fields here at the U and around the world gives them a leg up in the job market.”

The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center is a center within the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology, the university’s college of engineering, physical sciences and mathematics.

For more information on the U of M Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, visit www.mrsec.umn.edu.

October 10, 2008