UW News

September 18, 2012

Center for Chemical Innovation receives NSF reauthorization of $20 million

News and Information

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $20 million grant over five years in reauthorizing the Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis based at the University of Washington.

The center, led by Karen Goldberg, a UW chemistry professor, brings together 18 investigators and their research groups in chemistry and chemical engineering at 14 different institutions across North America.  Their focus is to develop fundamental science needed to sustainably produce chemicals and fuels.

The center was established with a three-year NSF grant in 2004 with the aim of finding easier, more powerful and more environmentally friendly ways of manipulating the strong chemical bonds found in most materials. In 2007 the center received a $15 million, five-year award from NSF.

Under the latest grant renewal, scientists will create and investigate new reactions and catalyst systems transforming various chemical bonds involving carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. The data will help devise new methods for the chemical industry that could provide consumers with a variety of less-expensive products created in ways that use less energy and produce fewer undesirable byproducts.

The research focuses on basic science that can provide the technological basis for sustainable production of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fuels. The work has significant potential to increase U.S. competitiveness and bring increased energy independence, Goldberg said.

The center offers collaborative training for students as well as postdoctoral researchers. It has a number of industrial affiliates that provide guidance and facilitate commercial development of the center’s research.

The Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis is led by the UW and is funded as part of the Centers for Chemical Innovation program.