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Posted: September 9, 2007
Sustainability and nanotechnology focus of Bayer Foundation $380,000 grant to West Virginia University
(Nanowerk News) West Virginia University announced that it has received $380,000 from the Bayer Foundation to create the Bayer Scholars for Extrusion-Compounding Program in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
The new fellowship program in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources will fund three WVU graduate students pursuing doctorates in chemical engineering over a five-year period.
The program is competitive with other prestigious fellowships, such as those awarded by the National Science Foundation.
Bayer scholars will be members of the WVU Center for Extrusion-Compounding of Additives for Superior Plastics Performance, a state-of-the-art polymer engineering facility that is part of the Department of Chemical Engineering.
The center is involved in pioneering innovative plastics processing methods that utilize both nanotechnology and “green,” or sustainable, processes to produce novel polymer composites.
In addition, Bayer scholars will complete internships at a Bayer MaterialScience research and development laboratory either in the United States or overseas.
“We are grateful to the Bayer Foundation for this grant,” WVU President Mike Garrison said. “West Virginia University changes lives, and by providing support for graduate education in engineering – with a particular focus on bringing more women and underrepresented minorities into the sciences – Bayer will help us achieve that goal.”
“We are delighted to make this gift to help further the work and mission of a chemical engineering department that shares our own vision and commitment to advancing plastics technologies in the 21st century,” said Gregory S. Babe, president and chief executive officer of Bayer MaterialScience LLC and board member of the Bayer Foundation.
Babe pointed to the WVU center’s current investigation of using nanoparticles to design composites with innovative properties, as well as its work to develop modern methods for recycling plastic components found in electronics, such as radios and television, for use in new products.
“WVU’s Center for Extrusion-Compounding is particularly valuable for today’s chemical engineering graduate students because it is one of the few university research facilities that actually mirrors an industrial research laboratory, affording students the requisite real-world experience for today’s global marketplace,” Babe explained.
Babe is a West Virginia native, a 1980 graduate of WVU with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and a member of the Distinguished Alumni Academy of the WVU Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
The Center for Extrusion-Compounding is closely aligned with the University’s Polymer Research Initiative, which aims to stimulate new polymer research activities across campus in areas including polymers and the environment, advanced composites, bio-based polymers (plant-based) and biomedical applications. The center is a state-of-the-art engineering facility funded by the West Virginia Research Challenge Grant, the Mid-Atlantic Research Center for End-of-Life Electronics (MARCEE), the WVU Research Corporation and several other organizations.
In addition to this latest gift, Bayer has awarded $250,000 in fellowship grants to WVU over the last decade to support the Department of Chemical Engineering and the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
Bayer fellows have participated in research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and have garnered national student awards from the American Institute of Chemical Engineering.