Nanotechnology center is a historic milestone for UT Austin
Any day UT Austin receives an $18.5 million grant is a good day. But the announcement that a grant in that amount from the National Science Foundation over the next five years was to create an NSF nanosystems engineering research center was much more significant than simply the receipt of even that impressive an amount.
When engineering dean Greg Fenves was new to his job, one of his earliest observations to me was that, unlike other top universities, UT Austin was not home to an NSF research center. These centers complement America’s system of national labs, and the fact that this particular center will be at UT speaks volumes about our leadership in the engineering sphere.
Nanotechnology is one of the most important frontiers there is. Nanoscale breakthroughs will usher in inventions and solutions we can only dream of today, and thanks to the National Science Foundation and our academic and corporate partners, The University of Texas at Austin will be right at the cutting edge. Those academic partners include the University of New Mexico and UC-Berkeley, and our corporate partners include Texas Instruments, 3M, Lockheed Martin, Applied Materials, and Corning Inc., among others.
The Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies (to be known as NASCENT) will develop innovative nanomanufacturing, nanosculpting, and nanometrology systems that could lead to versatile mobile computing devices such as wearable sensors, foldable laptops, and rollable batteries.
Not only is this the first time UT Austin has been selected to lead a prestigious and highly competitive engineering research center (ERC), but it is the first time since 1986 that a Texas university has been selected to lead an ERC. As of November 2011, there were 17 active ERCs across the United States.
What starts here changes the world.