Professor Rangel Receives NSF Grant to Fund the California-Catalonia Alliance for Miniaturization in Science and Engineering

California-Catalonia Engineering Initiative Continues to Expand

November 29, 2005 - Roger H. Rangel, professor and chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, recently received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), given to support the California-Catalonia Alliance for Miniaturization Science and Engineering program, which is an expansion of the international collaboration between the University of California, Irvine and selected universities and research facilities in Catalonia, Spain.

Rangel, UC Irvine Director of the California-Catalonia programs, is helping manage and support academic and research experts from both countries who have agreed to be part of this growing partnership.  Currently, there are three different types of California-Catalonia programs, including The Balsells Fellowship, The Girona Fellowship, and The Engineering Innovation Program.

Participating Catalonian universities and facilities include the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), the University of Barcelona (UB), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), as well as the Catalan Reference Center on Bioengineering (CREBEC), the National Microelectronics Center (CNM), the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology (ICN), and Materials Science Institute of Barcelona (ICMAB).

The UC Irvine team is comprised of Rangel, as well as Professors Marc Madou and Andrei Shkel from the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, and Professor John C. Hemminger of Chemistry from the School of Physical Sciences.

The launch of this new program will encompass two distinct research areas: micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) with applications in biotechnology and biomedical engineering, and nanotechnology, exploring the fundamental aspects of materials science, physics, and chemistry.

 “Exposing our young researchers and faculty, as well as our undergraduates and graduates, to this new element of the California-Catalonia program will greatly benefit our students, states, and countries by building a globally-engaged science and engineering workforce and community,” Rangel said.

Until this proposed program, the collaboration has been primarily in the Catalonia-to-California direction, whereas this new expansion will focus more resources in Catalonia.  American graduate students from UC Irvine will conduct significant potions of their research at partner Catalan institutions, mainly at the research centers associated with this initiative.

“This global integration of research and education will also take place in the form of an annual mini-symposium held in Barcelona, which all of our American exchange students will participate in and help organize,” Rangel explained.

He said this event will include lecture series by senior alliance members from the U.S. and Spain, as well as workshops and panel presentations.  The surrounding research community will be invited, and students will be asked to participate in both oral and poster presentations.

The first annual California-Catalonia Alliance on Micro- and Nanotechnology Science and Engineering mini-symposium is scheduled for September 2006.  It will be part of the 32nd international conference called Micro- and Nano- Engineering (MNE) 2006, held in Barcelona.  MNE is organized and hosted by a partner institution, the National Microelectronics Center (CNM).