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National Science Foundation awards $15 million grant to Rutgers-led engineering research consortium

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $15 million grant to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and three collaborating universities to improve the way pharmaceuticals, foods and agricultural products are manufactured.

The five-year grant funds an NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) to enhance the quality and consistency of materials used in drug tablets, processed foods, agrichemicals and other composite organic products. Research will focus on the structure of component materials, including particle shapes and sizes and forces that bind them together. The center also will study how to efficiently produce structured materials in large quantity. Understanding the nature of these materials will provide a foundation for new manufacturing processes that are more predictable, consistent and cost-effective.

"While these industries have come up with many innovations such as controlled-release drug tablets, there is still more opportunity to incorporate materials science and engineering methods in manufacturing," said Fernando Muzzio, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering at Rutgers and the grant's principal investigator. "Today's products and processes were often developed through costly and time-consuming experimentation. We want to uncover more of the science behind these products and the engineering that goes into making them, so companies can get them to market faster, cut costs and eliminate waste."

Joining Rutgers in the consortium are the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Purdue University and the University of Puerto Rico, schools with established teaching and research programs in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences and technology.

In addition, 28 companies are providing $2.5 million in research funding during the ERC's first year. Muzzio said the consortium expects to bring in as much as $40 million in additional support over the next 10 years from pha
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Contact: Carl Blesch
cblesch@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x616
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
18-May-2006


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