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UTD Joins Collaborative Effort to Launch
'Nano at the Border' Encourages Joint Education, Research, Outreach
RICHARDSON, Texas (Jan. 16, 2003) - The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has joined with The University of Texas at Brownsville and The University of Texas-Pan American in a consortium designed to promote nanoscience and nanotechnology education, research and industrial outreach in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.
Provosts of the three universities, along with their counterparts from both The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas at Austin, are scheduled to sign a memo of understanding at a meeting later today in Harlingen pledging to collaborate on a project known as "Nano at the Border," which seeks to bring the promise of the fledgling field of nanotechnology to South Texas.
Nanotechnolgy has been posited as the next possible revolution in science. It enables the fabrication of material structures and devices having molecular dimensions and entirely new physical or chemical properties as a result of sizes smaller than the wavelength of light. Still in its infancy, nanoscience has numerous potential applications in such disparate fields as electronics, medicine, communications and manufacturing.
"'Nano at the Border' will comprise a range of collaborative projects, including the establishment of an educational, training and information exchange network for nanotechnology and nanoscience that will include formal course work, training courses, seminars, technology transfer, commercialization opportunities and more," said Dr. Da Hsuan Feng, vice president for research and graduate education at UTD, one of the architects of the consortium. "The central goal of this program is to make available the latest and most advanced information on nanoscience and nanotechnology to each researcher, faculty member, student and staff member at the participating universities."
According to Feng, the program will include a combination of Web-based instruction, lab courses, small and large conferences and meetings and exchanges of faculty and students.
"The network will permit the combined resources of the participating institutions to be available immediately to all institutions," Feng said. "By leveraging our combined talent and resources, we all become better, more productive educators and researchers."
The UT campuses in Austin, Dallas and Arlington are leaders in the field of nanotechnology education and research. Last April, the three universities joined with Rice University in Houston to form an organization known as the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology, the goal of which is to position Texas as a center of nanotechnology research.
UTD became involved in nanotechnology in a big way some 18 months ago, when it hired two renowned experts from Honeywell International, Drs. Ray Baughman and Anvar Zakhidov, and established the UTD NanoTech Institute. Since then, the university has become a hotbed for the cutting-edge science, forging cooperative research agreements with Jilin University in China and the National Research Council and the University of Alberta in Canada.
Last August, UTD's reputation as a leader in nanotechnology research was boosted further when Nobel laureate Dr. Alan MacDiarmid joined the university's faculty. MacDiarmid, who shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has pioneered research in the field of nanoelectronics in recent years.
The "Nano at the Border" concept was established a year ago by UTD and UT-Brownsville, said UTD's Feng. To date, the two universities instituted a joint seminar program, a series of faculty visits and procedures for filling faculty opening in nanoscience.
"The memo of understanding to be enacted today is much broader in scope than the previous effort, involving more institutions and more extensive activities," Feng said.
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