A new partnership between Rensselaer, Sandia National Laboratories, and a select group of leading universities and corporations will present Rensselaer graduate students with a host of new cutting-edge internship and research experiences.
Rensselaer and the other institutions signed a memorandum of understanding in August to establish the National Institute for Nano-Engineering, or NINE. The partnership has been driven by concerns over the health of America’s science and engineering education and capacity for innovation, as highlighted in the 2005 report “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” from the National Academies.
“Giving our faculty members and students unfettered access to Sandia’s stellar research staff
“This partnership allows Rensselaer to strengthen existing ties and forge new relationships with global technology leaders in industry, academia, and government,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, who was an author of the National Academies study. “NINE is a shining example of how our government can reach out to academia and industry for the purpose of energizing and educating young people in the sciences and engineering, and in helping our nation maintain its leadership role in the world economy.”
“Our successful and highly visible nanotechnology center and our outstanding materials science program are the reasons that we were invited to be a member of the prestigious NINE partnership,” said Alan Cramb, dean of Rensselaer’s School of Engineering. “Giving our faculty members and students unfettered access to Sandia’s stellar research staff and facilities will only strengthen Rensselaer’s reputation as a nanotechnology leader and as one of the world’s leading universities for engineering research and education.”
The goal of NINE is to broaden students’ education through a unique team research experience by engaging in multidisciplinary teams working on pre-competitive research in leading-edge technical areas. Breakthrough discoveries in nanoengineering are anticipated and students will gain rich technical experience and breadth by collaborating with top institutions around the country.
David Duquette, professor and head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is overseeing the school’s involvement in NINE. Duquette said NINE’s focus on materials science in nanotechnology plays to Rensselaer’s strengths, and will lead to exciting research opportunities for students. Partner companies will share industry-level nanotechnology and materials science challenges to NINE, which in turn will recruit faculty and students from partner universities to collaborate and research the topic at Sandia.
“Our students will be expected to spend a considerable amount of time at Sandia, anywhere from three months to a year,” Duquette said. “It will be an exciting program for Rensselaer.”
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