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UMass President's Office Awards $1.1 million for 2006 Science and Technology Projects

Boston - July 26, 2006 - University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson has announced $1.1 million in awards from the President's 2006 Science and Technology Initiatives Fund for eight new projects. This is the 3rd year that these awards have been made and a total of 24 projects have been funded since 2004.

"Once again in this competition, UMass researchers have submitted dynamic and innovative proposals for work in new and important areas of investigation," commented President Wilson. "Projects supported in the first two rounds of S & T funding, including the MassNanoTech at Amherst and the Massachusetts Biomanufacturing Center at Lowell and Dartmouth, have gone on to secure over $40 million of additional funding from government and private sources."

"This type of leveraging is a critical element of our strategy to build the University's research enterprise and promote collaboration," he added. "The program is proving to be a tremendous catalyst and is among the most rewarding investments that the University of Massachusetts makes each year."

The President's Science and Technology Initiatives Fund awards for 2006:

  • Mass-CREST - Center for Renewable Energy S & T (UMass-Amherst); Award: $200,000; Principal Investigators: Professor Sankaran Thayumanavan and Professor Bryan Coughlin

    The center's mission is innovation in the area of renewable energy devices and its translation to marketable technologies, processes and techniques. Faculty from the departments of chemistry and polymer science and engineering will conduct research on a range of technologies including solar cells, fuel cells and batteries and "future fuels," such as hydrogen and biomass (fuels, such as ethanol, made from organic materials).
  • Wireless Communication Center of Excellence (UMass-Amherst); Award: $200,000; Acting Principal Investigator: Professor Ted Djaferis

    The center will leverage campus expertise from the departments of electrical and computer engineering, mechanical and industrial engineering, and computer science to implement a broad research program that will build on existing expertise in signal processing and networking designed to improve wireless communications.
  • Center for Coastal Environmental Sensing Networks (UMass-Boston); Award: $150,000; Principal Investigator: Professor Robert Chen

    The center will focus on the creation and testing of new environmental sensors and the development of smart sensor networks with the ability to visualize and analyze complex and non-continuous data streams. Key investigators from earth, ocean and environmental science, computer science and biology will be included in the center's interdisciplinary team.
  • Bioengineering Initiative (UMass-Dartmouth); Award: $150,000; Principal Investigators: Professor Alex Fowler and Professor Paul Calvert

    The award will help to build the campus's capacity in engineered biomaterials and cellular and tissue engineering. Faculty from mechanical engineering, materials and textiles, electrical engineering and biology will be represented on the team that will collaborate with Massachusetts General Hospital and other institutions.
  • Green Chemistry Collaborative for Pharmaceuticals (UMass-Lowell); Award: $100,000; Principal Investigator: Professor John Warner

    This project establishes a collaborative research program with the pharmaceutical industry to develop processes to reduce the harmful environmental impacts resulting from manufacturing. Faculty from the departments of community health and sustainability and clinical laboratory and nutritional sciences will work on the development of designer formulations of active pharmaceutical ingredients that will cut manufacturing costs and enable more environmentally friendly manufacturing.

  • Translational Research Center (Worcester): Award: $150,000; Principal Investigator: John Sullivan, Vice Chancellor for Research

    This award is an internal planning grant to support the campus's efforts to secure National Institutes of Health funding for a major initiative in translational research, which aims to accelerate the process of turning fundamental discoveries in the biomedical sciences into medical treatments for patients.
  • Oral Vaccine Initiative: (Worcester); Award: $100,000; Principal Investigator: Professor Donald Tipper

    This grant will support a research program on a platform technology that enables the production of oral vaccines based on yeast cell wall particles. The technology has a number of unique advantages with respect to cost and scalability of production, regulatory approval and robustness of application.
  • UMass/China S & T Faculty Exchange (President's Office); Award: $50,000; Principal Investigator: Marcellette Williams, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and International Relations

    This funding will seed an international collaboration with China. The activity will leverage existing relationships, such as the memorandum of understanding with Tsinghua University and the establishment of a Confucius Institute at UMass-Boston.

Contact: William H. Wright, 617.287.7065

7/26/06

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