Posted: March 9, 2009

High-profile national nanotechnology network receives $85 million renewal grant

(Nanowerk News) A high-profile consortium of nanotechnology research centers, of which Cornell is a founding member, has received a five-year renewal grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the amount of $17 million per year.
With the renewal -- a 20 percent increase over the previous grant -- the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) entered its second five-year term on March 1. Led by Sandip Tiwari, Cornell's Charles Mellowes Professor in Engineering, NNIN provides researchers with cutting-edge facilities and support in nanoscale fabrication, synthesis, characterization, modeling, design, computation and training.
As previously announced, NNIN's Cornell home, the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility, was also renewed by the NSF for $2.68 million per year.
The NNIN is a network of open resources, connecting researchers with knowledge developed by others and with expensive and time-consuming tools. Its open-access, low-overhead structure has become a model used around the world, according to Tiwari.
"It has been immensely successful and continues to have a major impact on the nation's research, development and education enterprise through a dynamic evolution that keeps it positioned at the frontiers of science and engineering," Tiwari said.
The NNIN also emphasizes education of the public, workforce and students at all levels as "critical to open propagation of knowledge and skills, and an educated, societal adoption of nanotechnology development, the societal adoption of nanotechnology development," Tiwari said. Among these efforts is a summer program called Research Experience for Undergraduates, as well as workshops and short courses in technical areas of research held at different sites.
During the new term, three new institutions will join the network, bringing the membership to 14. They are:
  • The University of Colorado, which will focus on research in energy-related problems and in precision sciences, which includes measurements, standards and systems;
  • Arizona State University, where researchers will work particularly on organic/inorganic interfaces in electronics, biodesign, implantable devices, flexible electronics and sensors. The university will also emphasize outreach to underrepresented communities in the southwest;
  • Washington University in St. Louis, a leading medical and public health institution, whose research focus will be on nanomaterials and nanosciences for health and the environment.
  • Over the past five years, thousands of Ph.D. students have graduated using NNIN's resources, according to Tiwari, and the network now has nearly 5,000 advanced users from academia, industry and federal and state laboratories. It also serves about 350 private companies.
    Source: Cornell University
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