Samueli School Faculty Win GAANN Awards

Oct. 31, 2018 - The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded 2018 GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) grants to four UC Irvine faculty members, three of whom are engineering professors. 

This year’s Samueli School recipients are G.P. Li, Martha Mecartney and Faryar Jabbari.

The grants provide fellowships to assist graduate students with excellent records who are studying in fields designated as areas of national need. Awards are made to institutions and faculty members, who serve as principal investigators, to help them recruit and support promising graduate students. Funds are renewable for three years based on successful implementation, and UCI’s Graduate Division provides 25 percent matching funds.

G.P. LiLi, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, was awarded $199,000 per year to support four graduate students in electrical, electronic and communications engineering. The department is looking specifically for graduate students interested in developing sustainable, data-enabled manufacturing, smart manufacturing environments and a smart workforce to support advanced manufacturing. Li calls the area, known as the Industrial Internet of Things, the “fourth industrial revolution,” adding that it is driven by a revolutionary transformation in our capability to acquire, encode, transmit, decode and receive data.

Martha MecartneyMecartney’s grant totaled $298,500 per year to support six Ph.D. students in materials science & engineering and chemical & biochemical engineering with tuition, fees and a stipend. The materials science professor says that over the last 10 years with support from GAANN funds, doctoral programs in her department have almost tripled the number of domestic students enrolled, more than doubled the enrollment of women and achieved an eight-fold increase in enrollment of underrepresented minority students. Additionally, they have contributed to an increase in the average number of Ph.D. students graduating from six to 11 per year.

Faryar JabbariJabbari, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will receive $248,750 per year to support four fellowships in aerospace engineering, while the 25 percent matching funds will support a fifth student. “The proposed project will help recruit and train a cadre of highly trained doctorates in a critical field with profound impact on international competitiveness of key industries and national security,” Jabbari wrote in his application. He added that the funds also would enable the department to better coordinate its activities with the California Alliance for Minority Participation, increasing the number of doctoral students from traditionally underrepresented groups.

UCI’s fourth GAANN award this year went to Paul Dourish, Chancellor’s Professor of informatics. 

- Anna Lynn Spitzer

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