The National Science Foundation is providing Case Western Reserve University with a $19 million grant to fund a research and educational center and network for polymer research.
The five-year grant funds the Aug. 1 start of the Center for Layered Polymeric Systems at Case School of Engineering in Cleveland. Anne Hiltner, a professor in macromolecular science and engineering, will be the center's principal investigator and director.
NSF creates science and technology centers across all disciplines. Case Western is one of six new centers and 17 overall. It is the only one funded in the physical sciences and engineering. There were 160 competitors.
Hiltner said the goal for the new center is to lead the nation with an integrated program of research and education through a distinctive microlayering and nanolayering process created at Case during the past 20 years.
The process combines dissimilar polymers and other materials to produce new hierarchical structures. The concept, known as ``polymers plus,'' integrates polymer science and engineering with research in such areas as nanotechnology, optics, laser physics, and biomedical engineering.
Among Case's partners are Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., the University of Texas at Austin and the Cleveland Municipal School District. The Case-Fisk alliance is designed to broaden the participation of African-American students and will allow Fisk students to participate in the center's research activities. The center's faculty will encourage Cleveland students to explore polymer science and engineering as careers.
Others in the network include the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss.; Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.; the State University of New York at Fredonia; the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.; and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington.
NSF, based in Arlington, Va., is an independent federal agency.