Materials Science is a major and important area of modern scientific research with direct impact on society’s technological progress, many employment opportunities for college graduates and strong federal funding, but UH lacks a well-developed and integrated Materials Science program. Nonetheless, Materials Science is actively pursued in many research programs already present across UH Schools and Colleges, and a broad spectrum of advanced, often unique, instrumentation is available in UH laboratories. Although individually successful in attracting single-PI grants, the lack of connection between researchers, capabilities and infrastructure have handicapped prior UH attempts to compete for high-level Materials Science funding. The concurrent lack of a coordinated on-campus training and research framework in Materials Science also limits the potential impact of expertise and state-of-the-art instrumentation on student education and technical training. The recent strategic hires of several faculty members with Materials Science expertise and teaching capabilities reinforce the need for such connection.
The purpose of this project is to address these challenges and limitations by forming a collaborative, interdisciplinary UH Materials Science Consortium for Research and Education that associates all UH’s materials experts in one core group and to develop basic collaboration-enabling resources. Specifically, we propose to
- create a portal with UH-wide Materials Science expertise and resources in one centralized, online location;
- Provide funds for access to state-of-the-art instrumentation in order to jumpstart innovated, unfunded projects, especially across College and School boundaries, and for repairs to existing instrumentation for education;
- Develop a cross-listed, team-taught, undergraduate course on materials synthesis and characterization;
- Develop and manage an Undergraduate Materials Research Fellowship Program to fully engage students in the Consortium research community; and
- Engage UH materials experts and Undergraduate Research Fellows in outreach, seminar series and one-day workshops for dissemination of research results, networking and development of collaborative research and major proposals for creation of a Center for Materials Science at UH.
We anticipate that these efforts will lead to a strong, connected UH Materials Science community well-poised to engage in innovative collaborative research projects, increase student enrollment and attract top-rated faculty by showcasing UH’s full capabilities in teaching and research in Materials Science.
Nicolas Gaillard (Hawaii Natural Energy Institute) and Hope Ishii (Hawaii Institute of Geophysics & Planetology), leading an across-campus team of faculty