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$3.3M NSF Award Creates Research Partnership

Photonics.com
May 2012
EL PASO, Texas, May 31, 2012 — The National Science Foundation awarded $3.3 million to the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of California, Santa Barbara, to establish a long-term partnership for materials science and engineering research.

The award is part of the national Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) grant program. The UTEP-UCSB PREM program broadens the participation and advanced degree attainment of underrepresented minorities, primarily Hispanic students, in materials science and engineering. In addition, it will enable students to participate in research internships at the partner university, and allow faculty on both campuses to jointly teach advanced courses remotely.

“UTEP and UCSB students will have unique possibilities to work collaboratively in new materials research areas of direct relevance to solar energy,” said Luis Echegoyen, the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry at UTEP and principal investigator for this award. “We anticipate true synergistic outcomes to emerge from this collaborative partnership at the frontier of materials research for photovoltaic applications.”

The PREM award “is a chance to make a broader impact, and to excite and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers at UCSB and UTEP,” said Craig Hawker, director of UCSB’s materials research laboratory and co-principal investigator for the award.

The partnership also enhances the universities’ wealth of global research internship programs, offering an international component that would benefit students who participate in PREM.

It will also help UTEP to significantly accelerate its emergence as a focal center for materials research, and enable both universities to become strong partners and national leaders in diversity programs.

In February, UTEP unveiled its new $69.2 million state-of-the-art chemistry and computer science building, a major step toward its goal of becoming the first national research university serving a 21st-century student demographic.

“This grant validates the highly competitive research that Dr. Luis Echegoyen is conducting in UTEP’s world-class facilities,” said UTEP president Diana Natalicio. “UTEP’s commitment to creating enriched educational experiences for Latino students in this region is greatly enhanced through partnerships such as this one with UCSB, which offers them opportunities to participate in cutting-edge photovoltaic research with outstanding faculty members from both institutions at a time when developing alternate, affordable energy sources is increasingly important.”

For more information, visit: www.utep.edu


GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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