National Science Foundation Awards Nearly $4.2 Million for Research at Michigan Tech

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Eight research projects in eight different fields at Michigan Technological University are receiving grants totaling $4,172,719 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Funding for four of the projects comes from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA), also known as federal stimulus money.

"These projects come from all across campus,” said David D. Reed, the University’s vice president for research. “They illustrate the mix of research activities here at Michigan Tech. It is especially gratifying that some of our recently hired newer faculty members are participating in this success. We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for these awards."

The newly funded research includes:

  •  Sustainable fuel production from lactose.
    •  Principal investigator: Joseph Holles, Chemical Engineering
    •  Sustainable Futures Institute
    •  $300,000
  •  Rural and global watershed education and research, expanding traditional graduate training to involve graduate students in STEM teaching and learning at local schools serving low-income and high Native American populations.
    •  Principal investigator: Alex Mayer, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences; co-principal investigators: Nancy Auer, Biological Sciences; Linda Nagel, Forest Resources and Environmental Science; and Bradley Baltensparger, Social Sciences
    •  Sustainable Futures Institute/Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society
    •  $2,499,351
  •  Using metal organic frameworks for potentially cost-effective hydrogen storage and bringing the technology of hydrogen-based energy into high school classrooms.
    •  Principal investigator: Yun Hang Hu, Materials Science and Engineering
    •  Institute of Materials Processing
    •  $302,650
  •  Using nonmetals separated from electronic waste and waste plastic bags to improve the mechanical properties of asphalt materials
    •  Principal investigator: Zhanping You, Civil and Environmental Engineering
    •  Michigan Tech Transportation Institute
    •  $29,018
  •  Developing a new approach to energy control and management by studying the interactions of individual components of a power system.
    •  Principal investigator: Wayne Weaver, Electrical and Computer Engineering
    •  Power & Energy Resource Center
    •  $350,000
  •  Integrating multi-disciplinary computational thinking into volcano research to develop appropriate models and data to help assess and reduce the risk of volcanic eruptions. The project also will recruit new students in the geosciences and computational sciences.
    •  Principal investigator: Simon Carn, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, in collaboration with State University of New York at Buffalo and the University of South Florida
    •  Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences Institute
    •  $333,343
  •  Generation of data that can be incorporated into large-scale climate models that better predict the direct and indirect effects of aerosols, which are solidand liquid particles in the air.  The research will incorporate students from underrepresented groups as part of the Geoscience Research at Storm Peak (GRASP) project.
    •  Principal investigator: Lynn Mazzoleni, Chemistry
    •  Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences Institute
    •  $125,437
  •  Research leading to techniques that can improve wireless networks and prepare students for 21st century engineering challenges. 
    •  Principal investigator: Zhi (Gerry) Tian, Electrical and Computer Engineering
    •  Center for Integrated Systems in Sensing, Imaging and Communication
    •  $232,919

“Michigan Tech has been a longstanding leader in research and education dedicated to science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said US Congressman Bart Stupak when he announced the new NSF grants. “This funding will continue that tradition, as well as provide the innovations and cutting-edge technology necessary to create the next generation of sustainable, energy-efficient products right here in northern Michigan.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.