EL PASO, Texas, May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $3.3 million for the establishment of a collaborative research and education program between The University of Texas at El Paso and University of California, Santa Barbara. As part of the national Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) grant program, this award establishes a long-term partnership between UTEP and the Materials Research Laboratory at UCSB: an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.
The UTEP-UCSB PREM program broadens the participation and advanced degree attainment of under-represented minorities, primarily Hispanic students, in materials science and engineering. The program opens doors for UTEP and UCSB students to participate in research internships at the partner university, and for faculty at UCSB and UTEP to jointly teach advanced educational courses remotely to students at both campuses.
"The PREM program provides a wonderful opportunity for UTEP scientists to interact closely with their counterparts at UCSB in exciting research and educational projects," said Luis Echegoyen, the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry at UTEP and principal investigator for the award. "UTEP and UCSB students will have unique possibilities to work collaboratively in new materials research areas of direct relevance to solar energy. We anticipate true synergistic outcomes to emerge from this collaborative partnership at the frontier of materials research for photovoltaic applications."
Craig Hawker, Director of the Materials Research Laboratory at UCSB and co-principal investigator for the award, said 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."
"The UTEP-UCSB PREM will pursue research at the cutting-edge of photovoltaic materials research, developing new materials essential for efficient photovoltaics to be formulated," Hawker said.
Another core advantage of this PREM partnership is that it opens up a wealth of global research internship programs available for students at UTEP and UCSB alike. The Materials Research Laboratory at UCSB co-sponsors the Cooperative International Science and Engineering Internships program in which undergraduates participate in extended research stays with international partner institutions, leading to a much richer educational experience for U.S. students. A cooperative program including UTEP and three universities in Spain adds an additional international component that would benefit the students who participate in the PREM.
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SOURCE University of Texas at El Paso