Claflin University to Participate in MADE in SC Initiative Through $20 Million National Science Foundation Research Grant

Jan 10, 2018

Claflin University has been selected to participate in a consortium funded by a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research to enhance advanced materials and manufacturing.

Claflin will collaborate with nine other universities and colleges throughout South Carolina to increase research and improve the pipeline of diverse and highly skilled workers for these new industries.  The grant will also fund new research infrastructure at institutions in the consortium that will be accessible to researchers from other South Carolina universities and colleges.

The five-year Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 award comes from the NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).  The new initiative -- Materials Assembly and Design Excellence in South Carolina (MADE in SC) -- comprises a broad spectrum of faculty teams.  Claflin joins Clemson University, Medical University of SC and University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston, Furman, USC Beaufort, South Carolina State, and Winthrop as four-year institutions receiving funding from the grant. Florence-Darlington Technical College was also selected as a representative from the state’s technical school system.  Each school will receive a portion of the grant to hire researchers; invest in training postdoctoral fellows, graduate, and undergraduate students; conduct outreach to K-12 schools and the public; and develop new facilities.

Claflin’s participation in the NSF grant is consistent with its leadership for the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) Grant, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. Claflin, Benedict College and Voorhees College received part of a $35.4 million grant that will help prepare graduates for the 21st Century workforce, including high-paying jobs in STEM.

“We are extremely pleased and excited that the National Science Foundation  included Claflin in this important initiative that supports research and the role of higher education in South Carolina in preparing graduates for STEM-focused careers,” said Dr. Angela Peters, vice provost for academic programs at Claflin.

Claflin will receive $450,000 over five years to assist with the Master of Science in biotechnology degree program.  Dr. Verlie Tisdale, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will serve as the institutional director for the project at Claflin. The award will also fund undergraduate and graduate research, improve educational training and increase the University’s role in workforce development, especially for underrepresented minorities.

Dr. Bijoy Dey, Dr. Jie Ling and Dr. Nicholas Panasik, three chemistry/biology professors at Claflin, will also assist with implementing the grant.

Dey will be a contributing faculty member with Made in SC’s Multiscale Modeling and Computation (MMC) Core for Materials Research and Cyberinfrastructure Development.   Ling will be a contributing member of MADE in SC’s Research Thrust 1: Hierarchical Structures with Controlled Optical and Magnetic Properties. Panasik will be a contributing member of MADE in SC’s Thrust 3: Rational Design of Interactive Biomaterials.

In addition to contributing faculty, Claflin will offer research opportunities for 10 undergraduates and 13 biotechnology graduate students.   The University will provide equipment and facilities to the MADE in SC consortium including use of the Molecular Science Research Center.

“We are very excited about Claflin University’s involvement in this NSF grant,” said Dr. Nadim Aziz, the program’s state office director. “The opportunities for training of undergraduate and graduate students and for workforce development, as well as the use of Claflin’s equipment in this research, will help strengthen South Carolina’s efforts in becoming a premiere state for materials research.”

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