During its mid-November meeting, the UConn Board of Trustees approved the establishment of two new departments in the School of Engineering: Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (CBE). The departments will emerge as separate units from the current Department of Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering effective July 1, 2013.
Interim Dean of Engineering, Dr. Kazem Kazerounian, said “This is an exciting opportunity to elevate the reputation and visibility of these outstanding units, to grow the federal and industrial support for cutting-edge research, and to attract even greater numbers of exceptional students and faculty members to the individual departments. In sum, this measure frees the outstanding faculty and students in each newly formed department to attain the national ranking and scholarly recognition they deserve.”
In terms of benefits to the State, he noted, the faculty in the two departments will be better positioned to contribute toward the Bioscience Connecticut initiative – particularly in areas including systems biology, systems genomics and advanced materials – and the advanced manufacturing initiative, which will be a central focus of the UConn Tech Park.
Currently, the MSE program has 120 undergraduate and over 100 graduate students, and hosts research programs covering the processing, characterization, properties, theory, and engineering applications of metals, ceramics, polymers and composites. The MSE program hosts a Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (MURI) Center from the Office of Naval Research on the development of a new generation of dielectric materials along with a Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) site in biomaterials for tissue regeneration. Faculty also collaborate on two other GAANN projects involving clean energy and nanostructures/devices for energy production and storage.
Enrollment in CBE comprises over 235 undergraduate students and nearly 60 graduate students. Research underway within the unit spans nanotechnology, sustainable energy technologies, water filtration technologies, polymer science and materials, bio- and nanotechnology, process modeling, microfluidics and other areas. The program hosts an NSF-sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in innovation and entrepreneurship, and collaborates on two GAANN projects involving clean energy and nanostructures/devices for energy production and storage.