With a recent award from the National Science Foundation, the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota will receive a total of $17.8 million over the next 6 years to support the university's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).
Since it's establishment in 1998, the MRSEC at the University of Minnesota has received millions of dollars in renewed funding over the years with awards received in 2002, 2008, and the most recent award of $17.8 million in 2015. The University of Minnesota is one of only 12 universities in the country to receive funding for a materials research center this year, along with Harvard and MIT, solidifying UMinn's position as a leader in materials research.
Timothy Lodge, director of the MRSEC, explained that “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.”
The MRSEC conducts research of materials and nanotechnology that are important to the study of future technologies associated with biomedicine and renewable energy, amongst others, as well as provides interdisciplinary training to graduate and post doc students in the sciences. Research and studies at the center include studying how specific properties of different materials can be used to improve things like pharmaceutical delivery systems and water treatment processes.
“Graduate education often tends to be narrowly focused in one discipline, but that’s not the case here in Minnesota,” Lodge explained. “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 University and around the world gives them a leg up in the job market.”
The University of Minnesota is a top-ranked institution producing substantial life science research projects and results each year. In 2013, UMN ranked 16th in the nation for life science R&D expenditures, totaling more than $585 million, and in the 2014 fiscal year more than $251 million was awarded to research programs at the university. Some research projects currently receiving funding include:
- The University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Polymers received a 5-year, $20 million NSF grant to pioneer the next generation of plastics.
- The University of Minnesota was recently awarded a $28 million grant over five years to lead a new national research center focused on developing the next generation of microelectronics. The center will foster advances in nanotechnology, materials science, physics, chemistry, circuit design, and many other fields.
- The U.S. Department of Energy awarded the University of Minnesota $12 million to lead an Energy Frontier Research Center aimed at accelerating scientific breakthroughs in energy research.
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