April 3, 2024
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UCSB lab gets $15M from Dow Chemical Co.


UC Santa Barbara’s Materials Research Laboratory has received up to $15 million from Dow Chemical Co. to establish a new institute to study materials that can further technological discovery.

The recent five-year gift comes just weeks after the research lab received $20 million from the National Science Foundation to fund its studies through at least 2017.

The latest award will establish the Dow Materials Institute at UCSB, a center that will “educate future scientists and engineers and advance the discovery of revolutionary new materials with applications that range from novel drug delivery systems to next-generation microelectronics,” the school said.

UCSB is one of 11 universities has that has partnered with Dow further such research. Other schools include UC Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan.

At the new UCSB institute, Dow scientists and engineers and faculty members from chemistry, chemical engineering and materials will work alongside postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and undergraduates. The partnership also includes corporate student internships, and provides support for student outreach and entrepreneurial opportunities through the campus’ Technology Management Program. The award also includes a $2 million endowment that will provide ongoing funding to support the research of promising graduate students.

Founded 20 years ago, UCSB’s Materials Research Laboratory is a place where fundamental research by physicists, biologists and others is fleshed out to the point where business-minded scientists can run with it to create inventions and companies.

The Dow Materials Institute will build on fundamental research, and creates enormous potential for new product development, Craig J. Hawker, director of the lab and a professor of materials, said in a statement from the school. The lab is currently engaged in research that could result in more energy-efficient microelectronics and the creation of adhesives and coatings inspired by marine bio-organisms, UCSB said. The lab also focuses on magnetic thermoelectronic nanomaterials — highly efficient heat conducting materials that could be used in the next generation of renewable energy technology.

Michigan-based Dow, the second-largest chemical manufacturer in the world, said the new institute will create a pipeline of future scientists and engineers for the high-tech industry. “Here we will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with the nation’s top materials scientists and engineers in creating the next generation of nanomaterials and processes,” Theresa Kotanchek, vice president of sustainable technologies and innovation sourcing at Dow, said in a statement.