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Acclaimed nanotechnology researcher Ted Sargent has been awarded a $10 million dollar grant from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia - an international graduate-level research university set to open in September 2009.
U of T was one of 60 world-class institutions worldwide invited to put forth nominees for the award. Sargent, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology, is one of 12 scholars to be part of the founding group of KAUST Investigators and the only individual at a Canadian university to receive a grant. The competition was open to all internationally recognized scientists and engineers having an outstanding record of prior accomplishments and a very high level of originality and productivity.
At 34, Sargent is one of the most celebrated scientists of his generation. In 2003, he was named one of world's top young innovators by MIT's Technology Review and in 2005 was named a research leader in the Scientific American 50. He is a graduate of U of T and Queen's University.
"It's a spectacular award to an absolutely outstanding researcher. U of T has huge strengths in nano-science, and in the 10 years since his PhD, Professor Sargent has done it all," said President David Naylor. "He's carried out breakthrough experiments with stunning results and demystified nanotechnology for a wide audience in his popular book, The Dance of Molecules."
Sargent's research will build on the work for which he has already won wide acclaim - developing nanotechnology that uses the infrared rays of the sun to provide power for virtually everything that now uses electricity. In 2005, Sargent and his research team at U of T proved that it is possible to capture and convert the sun's invisible infrared rays into electricity. The team did so using a material that could be simply spray-coated onto any flexible backing.
"This is tremendously exciting for Ted. He has made huge achievements at a relatively young age and this award will enable him to have even greater impact with his innovative work," said Professor Paul Young, vice-president (research), who nominated Sargent for the award. "This award also reinforces that U of T has exceptional talent. There is no question that our scholars across all disciplines can win more grants of this caliber. We will continue to make a special effort over the coming years to nominate faculty for a range of scholarly prizes."
Sargent will continue to conduct his work at U of T and will also collaborate at KAUST with students and faculty from around the world.
"This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of one of our exceptionally gifted engineering professors. We are delighted that Ted Sargent is being recognized with this prestigious award to further his research and provide innovative solutions to address the world's energy needs," said Professor Cristina Amon, dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. "The KAUST award will enable critical breakthroughs to address today's compromise between low cost and high performance solar energy and will accelerate the cycle of innovation to transform the sun's abundant rays into a practical, cost-effective source of energy to be enjoyed by the citizens of the world."
KAUST is a new university that is being built on 36 million square metres on the Red Sea at Thuwal, approximately 80 kilometres north of Saudi Arabia's second largest city, Jeddah. The awards are part of KAUST's plan to establish itself as a global centre for top-notch research in key areas such as resources, energy and environment; biosciences and bioengineering; applied mathematics and computational science; and materials science and engineering.
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