Gov. Bill Ritter today joined officials and researchers from the University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines to announce $16.5 million in six-year National Science Foundation research grants through NSF’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center program.
The School of Mines will receive $9.3 million to establish a new Center, which will focus on investigating emerging renewable energy materials and technologies. It will be the first NSF-funded Center dedicated solely to renewable energy.
CU-Boulder will receive $7.2 million to continue and expand work at its existing Liquid Crystals Research Center. This will be the third round of NSF funding for the Center. Founded in 1995, the Center has spun off six different companies, and its research is contributing to a number of different fields, including better liquid crystals for solar panels and the origins of DNA.
“These grants will help us address the enormous energy challenges that face our state, our country and our planet,” Ritter said. “There are only 26 Centers around the country, so for Colorado to receive two multimillion grants is an incredible achievement. It recognizes the cutting-edge science and advanced-technology research being done here."
The director of the National Science Foundation expressed confidence that the money would facilitate research that is important to providing for the country's energy needs.
“I have full confidence that these two Centers will advance our understanding of basic materials science, address the energy challenges that face our nation and the world, and train the next generation of scientists and engineers on how to solve the complex problems of the future,” Dr. Arden Bement said.
The Colorado Higher Education Competitive Research Authority played a key role in providing state matching funds for each grant. This research authority was created by SB 07-182, sponsored by Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, and Rep. Jack Pommer, D-Boulder, to provide the state’s research institutions with matching funds so they can compete effectively for major federal grants that require such state support.
Bacon and Pommer joined Ritter at today’s news conference along with CU President Bruce Benson and School of Mines President Bill Scoggins.