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Carnegie Mellon receives funding to create new program studying environmental impact of nanotechnology

PITTSBURGHResearchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Howard University in Washington, D.C., have received a five-year, $3.15 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch a new interdisciplinary program in the environmental affects and policy implications of nanotechnology.

Funding comes from a new NSF program called the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT), which enables the creation of interdisciplinary programs educating U.S. Ph.D.s in science and engineering.

"The IGERT program at Carnegie Mellon and Howard will operate at the interface of science and environmental policy to produce an environmentally and policy literate generation of nanoscience professionals with the skills needed to create novel nanotechnologies and to assess and manage environmental risks associated with nanomaterials," said Jeanne M. VanBriesen, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon who will lead the program.

Graduate students from multiple disciplines will participate in a two-year training program to learn the fundamentals of their core disciplines and gain proficiency in the analysis of environmental issues pertaining to nanotechnology, decision science and policy analysis in new nanotechnology-themed courses. Following this foundation, students will conduct research at the interface of policy and nanotechnology. Students also will participate in international laboratory exchange projects as well as internships at corporations active in nanotechnology.

VanBriesen will be joined in the program development and implementation by a cadre of professors including: Gregory Lowry, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon and associate director of the Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology CEINT; Elizabeth Casman, associate research professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon; and Kimberly L. Jones and Lorraine Fleming, both professors in civil and environmental engineering at Howard University.

Additional Carnegie Mellon faculty participants in this NSF-funded project include: Allen Robinson, professor of mechanical engineering; Kelvin Gregory, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering; Kris Dahl, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering; Michael Bockstaller, associate professor of materials science; Mohammad Islam, assistant professor of materials science and chemical engineering; and Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy. Additional Howard faculty participants include Gary Harris, professor of electrical and computer engineering.


Contact: Chriss Swaney
Carnegie Mellon University

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