ChEMS Wins Federal Funding Grant for Graduate Fellows

Sept. 22, 2015 - The Samueli School’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science has been awarded a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education for Graduate Assistantships in Areas of National Need (GAANN).

UC Irvine matched 25 percent of the $885,000-plus DOE grant, bringing the total to $1.1 million in fellowship support – enough to support seven graduate fellows for three years each. The funds will help the department increase its diversity and the excellence of its doctoral graduates in the fields of chemical and biochemical engineering and in materials science and engineering.

The competitive GAANN fellowship program provides a stipend of up to $34,000 per year based on financial need for the doctoral students, along with tuition and fees.

Professor Martha Mecartney is the grant project director and principal investigator. "I am delighted with this award, because it is based in part on the dedication of faculty in my department to the recruitment of diverse students from across the U.S.," she said. "With this focus, we have seen an increase in the excellence of our Ph.D. students, and our new GAANN Fellowship award will help to not only sustain that momentum but also accelerate our progress."

 Co-PIs are Regina Ragan and Mikael Nilsson, chemical engineering and materials science associate professors.

 The funding begins this fall, and one or two students may benefit from the funds this year, but the majority will be recruited in future years, according to Mecartney. She added that her department has received GAANN grants before but never so many. "The number of fellowships is based on scoring," she said, "and we received perfect 100 percent scores from all reviewers."

 The Department of Education’s areas of national need are designated: area, ethnic, and cultural studies; biology sciences/life sciences; chemistry; computer and information sciences; engineering; foreign languages; mathematics; nursing; physics; psychology; and educational evaluation, research, and statistics. The areas of national need are published annually in the Federal Register.

-- Anna Lynn Spitzer


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