AUSTIN, Texas—Four Texas universities have formed a partnership to help position the state as a center for education, research and development in the cutting-edge science of nanotechnology.
Officials from the four universities — The University of Texas at Austin, Rice University in Houston, The University of Texas at Dallas and The University of Texas at Arlington — this month founded an organization known as the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology (SPRING). Its goal is to ensure Texas is a major player in a promising new field of science.
Nanotechnology enables the fabrication of material structures and devices having molecular dimensions and entirely new physical or chemical properties as a result of sizes smaller than the wavelength of light. Still in its infancy, nanoscience has the potential to revolutionize such disparate fields as electronics, medicine, communications and manufacturing.
“Nanotechnology is one of the cutting-edge research areas of science and technology in the 21st century, with profound implications in intellectual and economic landscapes for the United States,” said William Shute, vice chancellor for federal relations for The University of Texas System. “These four outstanding universities have widely recognized nanotechnology talents and, therefore, are in the best position to promote Texas’ interest in what almost surely will become a competition for leadership in the next scientific revolution. SPRING is based on the principle of inclusiveness, and I envision future opportunities for other Texas researchers to become involved.”
Leaders of the initiative said they intend to seek federal and state funding for the effort, which is expected to include collaboration on research projects, coordination on programs and conferences, and the development of joint facilities and infrastructure.
SPRING is headed by an executive committee composed of representatives from the four institutions. The representatives are:
- Dr. Juan Sanchez, vice president for research, The University of Texas at Austin.
- Dr. Da Hsuan Feng, vice president for research and graduate education, The University of Texas at Dallas.
- Dr. Jordan Konisky, vice provost for research and graduate studies, Rice University.
- Dr. Keith McDowell, vice president for research and information technology, The University of Texas at Arlington.
The organization’s technical advisory committee includes the following individuals:
- Dr. Wade Adams, director of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice University.
- Dr. Paul Barbara, Richard J.V. Johnson-Welch Regents Chair and director of the Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology, The University of Texas at Austin.
- Dr. Ray Baughman, Robert A. Welch professor of chemistry and director of the UTD Nanotech Institute, The University of Texas at Dallas.
- Dr. Ananth Dodabalapur, June and Gene Gillis Faculty Fellow in Manufacturing Systems Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin.
- Dr. Ron Elsenbaumer, interim director of the Nanofab Center, The University of Texas at Arlington.
- Dr. Alan MacDiarmid, Nobel Laureate and distinguished scholar in residence, The University of Texas at Dallas.
- Dr. Theresa A. Maldonado, associate dean for research and graduate studies, College of Engineering, The University of Texas at Arlington.
- Dr. Richard Smalley, Nobel Laureate, Gene and Norman Hackerman professor of chemistry, professor of physics and founding director of Rice University Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology.
Sanchez, who will be the first chair of the organization’s executive committee, said SPRING’s objectives span research, education and technology transfer among member institutions, other universities and businesses throughout Texas.
Officials of SPRING said the organization expects to hold an initial nanotechnology workshop, probably at Rice next fall. It also plans to coordinate a visit to member institutions of representatives of all three U.S. military services, as well as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – the major U.S. funding organizations for nanotechnology research.
For further information contact the public affairs offices at the participating institutions: Robert Meckel, The University of Texas at Austin (512) 475-7847; Steve McGregor, The University of Texas at Dallas (972) 883-2293; Donna Darovich, The University of Texas at Arlington (817) 273-2761; or Margot Dimond, Rice University (713) 348-6775.