Home > Press > Department of Defense Funds Texas Nanotechnology Consortium
Air Force, Universities To Study, Commercialize Aerospace Technology
Department of Defense Funds Texas Nanotechnology Consortium
Houston, TX | Posted on November 2, 2006
The Department of Defense will use a $1.4 million
appropriation secured by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to fund the
Consortium for Nanomaterials for Aerospace Commerce and Technology
(CONTACT), a consortium of seven leading Texas universities created to
develop and commercialize revolutionary nanomaterials for the defense
The Consortium for Nanomaterials for Aerospace Commerce and Technology, or
CONTACT, includes Rice University, The University of Texas at Austin, the
University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at Arlington, the
University of Texas at Brownsville, the University of Texas Pan American and
the University of Houston.
CONTACT researchers will partner with the Air Force Research Laboratory's
Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/ML) in Dayton, Ohio to develop
and rapidly commercialize the next-generation composites and smart materials
the Air Force needs to ensure U.S. air superiority in the 21st Century.
"Texas has emerged as a preeminent leader in nanotechnology research," said
Sen. Hutchison. "The formation of CONTACT is crucial to future advances in
this important field."
The new consortium will have a steering committee made up of the
vice-presidents for research and an executive committee of the directors of
nanotechnology centers at each of the participating universities. The
consortium executive committee will be chaired by Dr. Paul Barbara, director
of the Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology at The
University of Texas Austin.
"CONTACT will create unprecedented opportunities for nanomaterials
commercialization at each partner institution, further building the
foundations for a successful nanotechnology industry in Texas," said
CONTACT's activities build upon a four-year federal investment in
nanotechnology research infrastructure at the partner institutions. That
program, the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology (SPRING),
was supported with $37.5 million for the purchase of critical equipment and
infrastructure at the seven partner schools.
"Texas is already a leader in nanotechnology research, and this critical
funding will help us leverage that for aerospace commerce, a strong national
defense and high-tech jobs statewide," said Dr. Jack Agee, CONTACT's new
executive director. Agee, who will run day-to-day operations of CONTACT,
will be housed at Rice.
Agee, who served most recently as director of physics and electronics at the
Air Force Office of Scientific Research, is a Fellow of the Institute of
Electrical and Electronic Engineers and an Associate Fellow of the American
Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
"SPRING and CONTACT are precisely the kind of federal-state partnerships
that the U.S. needs in order to insure that the nation's investment in
nanotechnology pays off in the form of better jobs, improved national
security and a stronger economy," said Dr. Wade Adams, director of Rice's
Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.
CONTACT's research program calls for:
- the establishment of an industrial partnership for transferring technology to the private sector and transitioning capabilities into Air Force and Department of Defense systems.
- the formation of an intellectual property management team with at least five key industrial partners having technical transfer and transition experience.
- the development of a broad network of commercialization partners that includes small- and medium-sized businesses.
- one-third of CONTACT appropriations to go toward the purchase of critical R&D equipment and infrastructure.
- the development of revolutionary nanomanufacturing platforms to enable transition of technologies into military applications and commercial products.
- integration of education and research programs in aerospace technologies in collaboration with University of Texas Pan American and University of Texas Brownsville's Nano-at-the-Border Program in order to broaden the impact of the initiative to this historically under-represented region.
About Rice University:
Rice University is consistently ranked one of America's best teaching and research universities. It is distinguished by its: size: 2,850 undergraduates and 1,950 graduate students; selectivity: 10 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources: an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1, and the fifth largest endowment per student among American universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work. Rice's wooded campus is located in the nation's fourth largest city and on America's South Coast.
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