National Science Board selects leading chemists to establish new Science and Technology Center

CHAPEL HILL - The National Science Board has approved a new Science and Technology Center to be led by North Carolina and Texas scientists conducting groundbreaking research into environmentally safe solvents.

Chemists and engineers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University and the University of Texas at Austin will be partners in the effort and share in the cooperative agreement.

Under the auspices of the National Science Foundation, the universities will establish the Science and Technology Center (STC) for Environmentally Responsible Carbon Dioxide Processes. Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone, William R. Kenan Jr. distinguished professor of chemistry at UNC-CH and chemical engineering at N.C. State, will direct the center. Dr. Ruben G. Carbonell, KOSA professor and chair of chemical engineering at N.C. State, will be co-director.

"We understand that this cooperative research agreement will be the largest ever received by any set of investigators in the 16-campus UNC system," DeSimone said. "An estimated $18 million could come from the NSF over five years to support the $24 million center."

The exact amount of NSF funding will be negotiated later, but the center has the potential to last 10 years or more and could result in a total of approximately $35 million to $40 million from NSF during the decade, he said. Only five such centers are being authorized this year, from a total pool of about 300 pre-proposals submitted to NSF more than a year ago.

The new STC will be the leading facility in the world dedicated to discovering environmentally friendly processes using alternative solvents, DeSimone said. It will build on the pioneering research already done by center faculty.

"Our goal is to lead the environmental revolution in significantly reducing the amount of organic and water wastes generated in the manufacture of polymers and ch

Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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