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McCormick Professors Receive More Than $39 Million in Stimulus Funding

McCormick School of Engineering professors are part of research projects that have received more than $39 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The act, passed by Congress in February 2009, allocated billions for scientific research, and professors in every department at the school have applied for and received awards that range from $50,000 to more than $19 million.

"The success of McCormick's research awards is a consequence of our school's commitment to excellence in research and education," said Julio M. Ottino, dean of McCormick. "Our professors are at the leading edge of science and technology to prepare students to address the most challenging global problems. We are poised to make a difference."

The largest grant, $19 million, funds the new Non-Equilibrium Energy Research Center led by Bartosz Grzybowski, the Kenneth Burgess Professor of Physical Chemistry and Chemical Systems Engineering. Its focus is to synthesize, characterize and understand new classes of materials under conditions far from equilibrium that are relevant to solar energy conversion, catalysis and storage of electricity and hydrogen.

A $4 million grant will fund the International Materials Institute (IMI), led by Bob Chang, professor of materials science and engineering. IMI will conduct research in organic/inorganic photovoltaic cells and develop educational content for college, pre-college, and the public including joint undergraduate courses on energy topics and modules for K-12 math and science classes.

"Many of these awards are research projects that span across disciplines and schools," says Rich Lueptow, senior associate dean for operations and research at McCormick. "This sort of cross-disciplinary effort is part of the culture at McCormick, and it is essential to the innovation our country needs in this economy."

Some other ARRA-funded research projects include:

  • A project led by Fabian Bustamante, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, that will examine peer-to-peer (P2P) systems on the Internet, which can provide different, complementary views of the network, over partially overlapping space and time domains. Researchers hope to investigate how to gather, share, and exploit these views.
  • A project led by Aaron Packman, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, that will investigate how the crystalline structure influences the development of Proteus biofilms on urinary catheters and suggest improved strategies for treating these infections and for preventing catheter blockage.
  • A project led by Scott Barnett, professor of materials science and engineering, that will investigate solid-oxide fuel cells can provide pollution-free, efficient electricity generation. The introduction of cost-effective fuel flexible solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) would improve fuel-to- electricity efficiency, reduce pollution, and help enable carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration. This project will explore new anode materials that will allow SOFCs to work directly with a range of practical fuels, including hydrocarbons, gasified biomass, or coal.

Read summaries of more projects.