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The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) has announced two major awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The National Science Foundation granted University of the District of Columbia (UDC) $4.8 million over the next five years to establish a Center for Nanotechnology Research and Education as part of the NSF Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology Program.

The center’s mission is to utilize UDC’s expertise in nanotechnology to establish a nationally recognized center of excellence to realize UDC’s goals of supporting student research and professional development.

According to Dr. Devdas Shetty, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the center will develop partnerships that will enable UDC to gain significance in nanotechnology research.

“I am extremely excited about the CREST Center and its priority support of student research, including those pursuing doctoral studies,” says Shetty. “The Center will enable UDC faculty to showcase their core expertise in advanced manufacturing and establish a nationally recognized center of excellence.”

UDC’s faculty will conduct nanotechnology research in nano-scale electronics for next-generation computers, metal additive manufacturing, and nano-materials-based energy systems. Most importantly, the Center will attract and train students who will become a part of the nation’s diverse science and engineering workforce.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) awarded UDC $3 million over the next three years to establish a Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Space Technology & Applied Research.

The center will focus on research investigating advanced manufacturing techniques and their application in space exploration technology. These research activities will leverage UDC’s goals to prepare a diverse, skilled science, and engineering workforce in advanced manufacturing, research, and engineering with a focus on space technology and applications.

“This NASA award bolsters the University’s research prowess in advanced manufacturing, and recognizes UDC’s faculty and students as major contributors to the ever-growing research ecosystem in the Washington metropolitan area,” says Dr. Victor McCrary, Vice-President for Research and Graduate Programs at UDC.

Additional activities include experiential learning for students in advanced manufacturing, scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research and take part in summer internships at NASA Centers, and establish a Space STEM Outreach Program for middle- and high schoolers, teachers and community colleges, and minority-serving colleges, to increase awareness and engagement with NASA-related areas.

Through these integrated activities, the center is expected to significantly build UDC’s research capacity in NASA-related advanced manufacturing, research, and to develop a diverse STEM workforce for the space industry and the nation.

“We are extremely honored to receive this prestigious award from NASA,” says Dr. Jiajun Xu, an associate professor of mechanical engineering in UDC’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences the principal investigator for this grant. “It provides us with a great opportunity and critical support to establish a state-of-the-art research and education center in Advanced Manufacturing here at the University of the District of Columbia.”

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