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Material Sciences Research Cluster

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Primary objective: The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (SNSM) at the University of South Florida (USF) proposes to leverage existing strengths in science and mathematics departments, combined with strategic hires to initiate a “Materials Science” cluster.

This interdisciplinary initiative will place USF internationally at the forefront of both innovative research and related academic programs in Materials Science. This cluster will enhance existing partnerships in Materials Science and Engineering-related research with colleagues in the College of Engineering, College of Medicine, Moffitt Cancer Center and College of Marine Sciences. Further, the cluster will coalesce new partnerships to foster the development of future nationally-funded Centers in materials research. The cluster will also be active in the generation of patents for translation of basic research to industry and in the training of a technologically educated workforce.

Why is this cluster important now?: The critical national need for research that promotes prediction, discovery and characterization of new materials with unique or substantially improved properties as well as the search for new strategies for the processing and manufacture of such materials has been pointed out in a 2003 National Materials Advisory Board study initiated by the National Research Council. The promise of nanotechnology has been recognized by investment in a National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The nexus between advances in materials research and potential benefits in our ability to communicate, our health and well-being, protection of our environment, our security, our standard of living and extending the limits of our knowledge has been identified as a critical national need, and is internationally recognized as essential for improving the human condition. Consequently, a variety of funding and scientific agencies including the NSF, DoD, DOE, DARPA, NIH, NASA and NIST are currently investing heavily in materials research. Some examples of applications of new materials and their integration into devices include, for example, energy conversion (such as for alternative energy sources), sensors, targeted drug delivery, biocompatible devices, robotics, and communication using electronic, photonic and magnetic technology. In addition to basic research there is also a national need for active articulation with industry to take a new material to the product phase. This will stimulate the generation of new intellectual property through patents and their transformation to consumer products that will enhance U.S. industrial competitiveness - critical for stimulating the local and national economy and our manufacturing base which has been severely eroded over the past decade. The promise is significant for impacting currently multi-billion dollar industrial applications. This cluster in SNSM will also provide the next generation of the workforce in new and emerging technologies of vital national importance dependent on materials science by training Ph.D. and postdoctoral scholars through existing doctoral programs in Applied Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Geology at USF as well as new interdisciplinary degree programs initiated by the School.

Why USF?: SNSM at USF already has:

  • A strong group of nationally recognized scientists in materials science, characterized by the volume of scholarship and external funding in this area (described in the Appendix), as well as the existence of significant centers such as CIFM (funded by the US Army), SMARTT, CMD5 and FCoE:BITT.
  • Extensive relevant undergraduate and graduate coursework, disciplinary graduate degree programs and interdisciplinary degree programs (such as the newly approved Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering)
  • State-of-the-art facilities for materials design, synthesis, characterization and modeling.

The existing critical mass of theorists and experimentalists, strategically bolstered by the proposed hires and the shared facilities and infrastructure developed by this cluster will rapidly propel USF to national recognition in areas such as functional materials and drug design. The Materials Science cluster will address multiple strategic goals for USF in its quest for AAU recognition. These include significant increases in interdisciplinary external funding (particularly multi-investigator initiatives such as MURI, MRSEC, etc.), and in the quality and rate of scholarly productivity, graduate SCH and Ph.D. production and number of postdoctoral scientists.

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Antilla, JonChemistry One
Batzill, MatthiasPhysics One NSF Award
Bisht, KirpalChemistry One Two
Deban, StephenMath/Stat One
Djeu, NicholasPhysics
Eddaoudi, MohamedChemistry
Harmon, JulianneChemistry
Jiang, XiaomeiPhysics
Khavinson, DmitryMath/Stat One
Ladde, GangaramMath/Stat
Larsen, RandyChemistry
Malik, AbdulChemistry
Matthews, GarrettPhysics One
McColm, GregoryMath/Stat One Two
Ming, Li-juneChemistry
Motta, PhilipIB NSF Award
Mukherjee, PritishPhysics One
Muschol, MartinPhysics One Two
Nolas, GeorgePhysics One TwoNSF Award
Oleynik, IvanPhysics
Onac, PetroniuGeology One Two
Rabson, DavidPhysics One
Ryan, JeffreyGeology
Space, BrianChemistry
Srikanth, HariharanPhysics One
Tsokos, ChristosMath/Stat
Witanachchi, SarathPhysics
Woods, LiliaPhysics NSF Award
You, YunchengMath/Stat One Two
Zaworotko, MichaelChemistry
Zhang, PeterChemistry