UA Receives $8.7M to Fund New Research Centers

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Oct. 4, 2010 1:35 pm  

"A lot of innovations come down to new materials," Mantooth said. "This has broad implications beyond electronics at the University of Arkansas."

These projects also include funding to attract students to the field. The GREEN Center will create state-of-the-art undergraduate laboratories at three universities in Arkansas. There will be an optics laboratory at Philander Smith College, a solar cell characterization laboratory at University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff and a solar power station building laboratory at the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith. The center also will feature a "GREEN mobile," which will consist of a trailer filled with solar energy demonstrations and experiments. Researchers will take the "GREEN mobile" on the road to classrooms across Arkansas to help inform students about solar energy in an entertaining way, with the hopes of interesting students in pursuing careers in the field.

"Students are essential to what we are doing, because they will be the ones who take the technology and convert it into a business," Mantooth said.

The third project, known as Plant Powered Production, or P3, is a continuation of a three-year grant received in 2007 from NSF and ASTA. Spearheaded by Arkansas State University and led on the University of Arkansas campus by plant pathology professor Ken Korth, this project has brought researchers with different expertise from different campuses together to collaborate on plant-related research.

"Ultimately, we want to understand the ways in which plants can be used to improve human and environmental health," Korth said. "New frontiers of plant research of antioxidants, antimicrobial agents and targeted gene insertion can be explored in rich detail."

This NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research agreement is the second of its kind funded under the Arkansas ASSET Initiative (Advancing and Supporting Science, Engineering and Technology), which is designed to boost progress in scientific research areas developing in Arkansas. The first funding in the ASSET Initiative was awarded in August of 2007.

The initiative will also entail the followign schools in Arkansas: the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Central Arkansas and Arkansas State University.



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