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Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Awarded a NSF NUE Grant in support of new program option in Printed Nano Engineering


Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Awarded a NSF NUE Grant in support of new program option in Printed Nano Engineering

ANDREA ACOSTA | October 04, 2013

The Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso was awarded a $191,240 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that will help fund a project entitled "NUE: Printing Innovative Nano Technology Research and Elite Education (PINE TREE) Program" under the direction of Namsoo Kim, Ph.D., Ryan B. Wicker, Ph.D., Lawrence E. Murr, Ph.D., and David A. Roberson, Ph.D. The grant will help fund a new degree option in the department: Printing Nano Engineering (PNE).

According to Kim, the new PNE program is designed to recruit and prepare lower-division pre-engineering students to enter a new specialized degree in PNE within the undergraduate program in the department.

"This project will also assess, evaluate, and refine the new upper-division courses in the PNE concentration," Kim said. "And help to provide state-of-the-art research experiences in 2D and 3D printing nano-technology to students in the concentration."

The goal of the proposal is to design and implement a 24-credit-hour PNE concentration under the B.S. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (MME) program.

One of the main objectives of this program is to recruit and prepare pre-engineering students to pursue a career option in nanotechnology—which will help them to be more engaged in the field—ultimately, engaging students to have the foundational knowledge necessary in order to complete the PNE concentration and prepare graduates for advanced, high-tech engineering and manufacturing careers in printed electronics.

"Another objective will be to integrate research and development into undergraduate education to reinforce the concepts acquired in the PNE curricula," Roberson said. "This is to develop hands-on activities that emphasize synthesis of nano-materials, systems and expose students to various corporations and organizations related to nanotechnology."

Since the MME department currently has an undergraduate student population that is over more than 80% Hispanic and 31% female, the PNE program is expected to create a diverse group of engineers with the skills and qualifications needed in industry for printed electronics.

"The students will be diverse not only in ethnicity and gender, but in educational background," Kim said. "International collaborations will also be featured as a result of this project and will help advance the PNE education the U.S., incorporating pedagogical research at the lower-division level with emphasis on educating students in the area of conductive materials, optimal atomic packing factors and direct writing systems."

The coursework will be shared publicly in order to enable other educational institutions to implement the PNE program concentration option into their engineering programs. The outcomes and lessons learned from this program will be disseminated in international journals and conferences.

After working eight years in high-tech manufacturing, Roberson said that it's great to see an academic institution such as UTEP adapt to the increasingly higher levels of education required by industry. He believes this is beneficial to the student population––as they will someday enter a competitive job market.

"It trains the next generation of students to be proficient in the area of high-tech manufacturing. It also provides a good international experience for the college as a whole," Roberson said.

The students who complete the PNE program option will be experts in the field of printed electronics and able to manufacture printed electronics in areas such as printable materials development, system manufacturing and development of flexible electronics.

More about Kim
Kim specializes in the field of printable materials, printed technologies, printed electronics and standardization of printed devices. He is one of the leading research experts in the role of creating strategy plans on education, and researches printed electronics with printing origami and the material convergence concept. For more information contact Kim at

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The University of Texas at El Paso
College of Engineering
Engineering Building Room A148
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968

Phone: (915) 747-6444
Fax: (915) 747-5437

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