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UCSB Researchers Share $2.1 Million Science Bridges Grant

Monday, February 2, 2009 - 16:00
Santa Barbara, CA

Five UC Santa Barbara professors will share a $2.1 million grant with scientists from University of Cambridge as part of Science Bridges, a project announced today by Research Councils UK (RCUK).

The UCSB-Cambridge project will focus on harnessing new materials for energy efficiency by building on existing collaborations to bring low-energy lighting technology to the prototype production stage. The $2.1 million award is part of $6 million in funding being provided by RCUK to six British universities and four partner institutions in the United States. The goal of the project is to turn leading scientific research into commercial projects.

Caltech, Stanford, and MIT are the other American universities receiving funds. Besides Cambridge, the U.K. institutions are University of Strathclyde, St. Andrews, Heriot-Watt,

Glasgow, and University of Manchester.

Caltech and Stanford will receive $2.3 million to work with Strathclyde, St. Andrews, Heriot-Watt, and Glasgow on new research in the field of photonics and photonic-enabled technologies such as imaging, solar energy conversion, and environmental sensing. MIT and Manchester will partner on innovative technology for health-care delivery.

The UCSB scientists who are involved in the research are: Fred Wudl, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who leads the project; Steven DenBaars, co-director of the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center and a professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering; Alan Heeger, Nobel laureate and professor of physics and of materials; Guillermo Bazan, professor of materials and of chemistry and biochemistry; and Thuc-Quyen Thai Nguyen, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

"Both Cambridge and UCSB are interested in providing alternate forms of light," said Wudl. "So our center for light is a big part of this. We're all trying to do something to lessen our carbon footprint."

"The U.K. is committed to partnering closely on cutting-edge research with top U.S universities like UCSB and Caltech," said British Consul General Bob Peirce. "These research collaborations will generate important commercial opportunities for Southern California and the U.K. That's really good news in these tough economic times."

Lord Drayson, the minister of state for science and innovation in the U.K., said: "The Science Bridges Awards are an excellent example of how the U.K. is encouraging research which has both strong international collaborations and close links with business. By working with international partners we can benefit from their expertise and get more value from our investment in the U.K.'s world-class research economy. These collaborations have the potential to provide solutions to important challenges facing the U.K. and the world."