NSF Invests $162M in College Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers

The National Science Foundation's nine new Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers will receive $18 million annually for six years.
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Updated on July 5, 2023
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  • The nine new centers will focus on new research topics not previously studied at the National Science Foundation's other 20 centers.
  • The centers are responsible for exploring quantum engineering, material development, and advanced material sciences like materials that adapt to force.
  • Universities include Northwestern University, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Students looking to break ground in self-healing, quantum computing, adaptive materials, and nanotechnology may want to consider applying to one of the nine universities hosting the National Science Foundation's newest material science and engineering centers.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced June 26 its $162 million investment to establish Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) at the universities. The nine MRSECs will expand on different research topics not present at the 20 current MRSECs.

According to the press release, the MRSECs will receive $18 million each over six years to pursue research in semiconductors, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, sustainable energy sources and storage, advanced manufacturing, quantum computing, and sensing.

"NSF's Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers will help us seize new opportunities in semiconductors, biotech, quantum information and more, addressing the needs of our society and advancing critical emerging technologies," NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in the release.

"They will do so by expanding and enriching the ecosystem of innovation across our country."

Universities Investing in Quantum Information Technology and Adaptive Materials

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign center will explore energy quantum and electron-related production, storage, and electrochemical manufacturing, energy, and information technologies.

The University of Texas at Austin center will design soft biomaterials for synthetic cells and adaptive thermal coatings. The center will also work in quantum information processing and create atomically thin microelectronics materials.

The center at the University of Washington will work with electrons' light and magnetic properties for quantum information processing and sensing.

The Northwestern University center will work to create bio-inspired materials focused on self-directed functions like self-healing and shape morphing for medical and food-storage purposes, and it will experiment with electrons and ions to mimic brain neurons.

The University of Pennsylvania center will develop adaptive materials to deflect energy, robots, and tissue-like synthetic biomaterials for controlled molecule release inside cells (like drug delivery).

The center at the University of California, Santa Barbara will focus on sustainable, recyclable polymers and adaptive biomaterials that mimic living systems and haptics.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison center will develop new glass materials and materials to improve information processing and quantum computing.

The center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will design and control quantum materials and systems through artificial intelligence and develop materials that can withstand extreme temperatures and pressure for nuclear fusion and hypersonic defense systems.

The University of Michigan center will develop nanoscale structures for quantum information processing and recyclable polymeric materials for self-healing.