Grants and Gifts Support a Variety of Research Projects and Partnerships
The National Science Foundation has renewed and increased funding for the campus’s pioneering research and education partnership with China in chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science. The UCSB project will focus on technological research of international importance related to the development of clean energy and energy conservation.
Over the next five years, the campus will receive a total of $4 million — an increase of $1.5 million over the previous award — to expand collaborations with leading universities and research institutes in China. The NSF funds will also support the development of a new alliance with the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and the Fritz Haber Institute, both in China and Germany.
A $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will support an innovative global health research project conducted by Kevin Plaxco, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Plaxco’s project pertains to vaccines — specifically, to monitoring the effectiveness of a new class of vaccines that try to boost the immune system’s ability to fight infections at the mucus membranes, where they initially take hold. Plaxco’s research team is building an inexpensive, pocket-sized device that could tell whether these mucosal vaccines have done their job and produced antibodies against the infectious virus or bacteria. Doctors could use it to check their patients, and give them a booster if the first dose fails.
Harry Lucas, Jr., chair of the Educational Advancement Foundation, has given two gifts totaling more than $317,000 to renew his support for the Center for Mathematical Inquiry in the Department of Mathematics.
The CMI is one of five inquiry-based learning projects established by Lucas and his foundation at major research universities to improve mathematics education. The UCSB center is engaged in teacher education and research on inquiry-based practices in K-12 and university mathematics classes. The center offers mathematics courses for first-year undergraduates, upper-division math majors, and prospective teachers, as well as postdoctoral training.
A $1.45 million gift from SAGE Publications, Inc., will renew and expand its support for the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind. The gift will enable the SAGE Center to bring leading researchers to campus for extended periods of time, to explore the multidimensional nature of the human mind and participate in educational seminars, workshops, and public lectures focusing on issues in neuroscience.
Established in 2005 with a generous gift from SAGE Publications, the SAGE Center has played an important role in fostering scholarship by providing early outlets for academic research.