$1 Million Grant Will Advance Sustainability Research
August 12, 2014 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS.
Front, from left: UTEP Industrial Engineering Professor Heidi Taboada, Ph.D., Chemistry Professor and Program Director Juan Noveron, Ph.D., and Industrial Engineering Professor Jose Espiritu, Ph.D.
Back, from left: Industrial Engineering Professor Delia J. Valles-Rosales, Ph.D., and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Young Park, Ph.D., from New Mexico State University, and Chemistry Professor George Negrete, Ph.D., from The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Juan Noveron
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded The University of Texas at El Paso a four-year, $1 million grant to create and lead the multi-institution program, I-Discover. Its goal is to accelerate student research on time-critical, global sustainability issues, like clean water recycling, green energy systems, food safety and food sustainability.
I-Discover will consist of a team of interdisciplinary faculty from three universities: UTEP, The University of Texas at San Antonio and New Mexico State University. Together, the institutions will develop a new type of distance research education so students can design and carry out hands-on experiments under the guidance of university and USDA researchers.
"Science and engineering students will be able to learn and solve contemporary problems in global sustainability with mentorship from faculty and scientists from the USDA national laboratories," said Juan C. Noveron, Ph.D., project lead and associate professor of chemistry at UTEP. "The students will develop their professional competencies with these real-world, case-based scenarios."
Noveron believes the grant will accelerate discovery and lead to new inventions that students may be able to patent. In addition, by participating in I-Discover, these young researchers will form a nationwide, professional network that may offer support once they are in search of career opportunities.
The program officially launches in the spring of 2015, but engineering and science students are encouraged to contact Noveron now if they are interested.
Heidi Taboada, Ph.D., and Jose Espiritu, Ph.D., are associate professors of industrial, manufacturing and systems engineering at UTEP who also are coordinating I-Discover. Chemist George Negrete, Ph.D.; industrial engineer Delia Valles, Ph.D.; and mechanical and aerospace engineer Young Park, Ph.D., will assist with kick-starting the program at UTSA and NMSU.