NSF award creates university partnership for materials science, engineering research

May 24, 2012
Arlington, VA--The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $3.3 million for establishing a collaborative research and education program between the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Arlington, VA--The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $3.3 million for establishing a collaborative research and education program between the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). As part of the national Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) grant program, the award establishes a long-term partnership between UTEP and UCSB's Materials Research Laboratory: An NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).

The UTEP-UCSB PREM program broadens the participation and advanced degree attainment of under-represented minorities, primarily Hispanic students, in materials science and engineering--particularly photovoltaic materials research. 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, among other benefits.

The PREM partnership will also open up global research internship programs for UTEP and UCSB students. 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, such as the University of Oxford (Oxford, England) or Fudan University (Shanghai, China). 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.

In February, UTEP unveiled its new $69.2 million Chemistry and Computer Science Building, a major step toward its goal to become the first National Research University serving a 21st-century student demographic.

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