The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky a $3.76 million grant to create a national center of excellence in micro/nanotechnology. The announcement was made Sept. 21.

16 universities were awarded this highly competitive grant.

U of L and UK will be joining a new national network where outside users will have access to universities facilities, tools and expertise in nanoscale science and engineering and technology.

“This will be a boon to Kentucky’s economic development future and support the ongoing work of U of L’s Institute for Product Realization in our new research park,” says U of L Interim Provost Neville Pinto.

Pinto also says that the universities will become a collaborative center for academia, small businesses and industry to “make the next generation of smart products using the tiniest materials.”

The five year grant will be used to add staff to help train and support up to 500 additional external users, provide seed money for research projects in key advanced manufacturing areas, and engage more minorities and women in nanoscale science, engineering and technology.

“The next generation of commercial, medical and industrial products will contain embedded tiny sensors and miniature wireless communication electronics” said Kevin Walsh, director of U of L’s Micro/Nanotechnology Center. “New manufacturing technologies will need to be developed so these smart products can be made quickly, reliably and economically. U of L and UK are tackling those challenges.”

Both U of L and UK join universities like Stanford and Harvard in this national network of nanoscale science.