July 03--SOUTH BEND -- A University of Notre Dame research center has once again been designated an Energy Frontier Research Center by the federal government and has received a $12 million federal research grant.
The Notre Dame Energy Frontier Research Center was first designated as a frontier research center in 2009, along with 45 other centers.
This year, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $100 million in funding to 32 projects. Ten of this year's projects are new, while the rest received funding based on achievements to date and the quality of their proposals. The projects receiving funding were selected from more than 200 proposals.
The grants are intended to accelerate scientific breakthroughs needed to advance the energy economy.
The Notre Dame center, which is directed by professor Peter Burns, received a $12 million, four-year grant. Burns is a professor of civil Engineering and geological Sciences, and a concurrent professor of chemistry and biochemistry.
The focus of the Notre Dame center, which includes participants from several other universities and a national laboratory, is elements that are the basis of nuclear energy: uranium, plutonium and other actinides. The center's research seeks to understand and control materials that contain actinides at the nanoscale, which is about one-millionth of the size of the tip of a ball-point pen. The goal is advanced nuclear energy systems that may provide much more energy while creating less nuclear waste.
Since 2009, Notre Dame's center has supported 32 graduate students in actinide sciences, eight of whom have graduated; 28 post-doctoral researchers; 53 undergraduate researchers; and hosted 19 visiting scholars.
The center's research partners are Stanford University, University of California-Davis, the University of Minnesota, Oregon State University, University of Tennessee, George Washington University, University of Akron and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
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