CNSE Spotlight


August 2008 – Fargo, N.D. – North Dakota State University has signed research agreements to conduct collaborative projects with two federal scientific laboratories. Under the agreements, NDSU will conduct separate research projects involving solar cells, polymers, and radio frequency identification. The announcement was made at a news conference with NDSU officials and Senator Byron Dorgan on Aug. 18.

The projects totaling more than $100,000 in research funding will be conducted with Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M., and with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash. “Partnering with these federal research laboratories brings us the opportunity to really showcase the incredible things we have going on not only here at North Dakota State University, but all up and down the Red River Valley,” said NDSU President Joseph A. Chapman.

The partnerships could eventually serve as a pipeline for students who may someday want to pursue a career at one of the national laboratories. “We really relish these sorts of collaborations,” said Dr. Alton Romig, senior vice president & deputy laboratories director for Integrated Technologies & Systems at Sandia National Laboratories.

“We have five graduates of NDSU working at the laboratory,” said Barry Merrill, associate laboratory director, National Security Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “That’s a relatively small number of graduates for 4,000 staff. We hope to change that,” said Merrill.

Directors of five national laboratories toured NDSU in 2007 at the request of Senator Byron Dorgan and the Red River Valley Research Corridor. Senator Dorgan leads the congressional committee that funds national laboratories.

In early 2008, representatives from the NDSU Office of Research, Creative Activities and Technology Transfer visited two of the national laboratories to discuss NDSU research capabilities. “Representatives from national laboratories who previously visited NDSU noted the mix of young student researchers and experienced researchers, saying the youth and dynamics add to the already impressive capabilities shown here,” said Dr. Philip Boudjouk, vice president for research, creative activities and technology transfer at NDSU. “Partnering with Sandia National Laboratories and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offers an opportunity to showcase research expertise at NDSU, as we continue to build upon high-tech opportunities for the region.”

In one project, NDSU and Sandia National Laboratories will explore how thin-film silicon solar cells can be made using a liquid form of silicon. In another project, NDSU will use its combinatorial chemistry expertise to assist in the development of polymers used in purification membranes for water and sensors.

In a third project, NDSU’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering will assist Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with expertise on the design and operation of a large-scale radio frequency identification and wireless sensor lab.

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