A&Spire to Illuminate Signature Academic Initiatives

MATERIALS SCIENCE

Over the last 50 years, Materials Science has played a pivotal role in defining modern society by improving technologies that make products faster, stronger, and lighter. Composite materials are increasingly used in the aerospace and automotive industries, revolutionizing the way we travel. Materials Science has led to advances in computer technology, smart phones, High Definition (HD) televisions, and other communication systems, as well as enhancing the development of efficient energy storage, solar energy, and electric cars. Materials research extends into the medical field, specifically in the development of artificial implants and nanoscale materials that may offer alternatives for drug delivery in cancer treatments.

The School of Engineering & Comupter Science and the College of Arts & Sciences have between 10 and 15 faculty conducting research in this important area. This initiative aims to double the number of faculty in materials research and to move Baylor University toward recognition as an R1 institution. Funding for this initiative will provide endowed chairs, endowed professorships, postdoctoral fellowships, and graduate fellowships. Faculty in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; and Physics will form interdisciplinary materials research teams. These faculty hires represent the resources necessary to attract and retain top faculty, enhance student recruiting and mentoring, and bring scholarly prestige and financial stability to the program. In addition, other Science departments may partner with these research teams according to their areas of specialty, from biology, geosciences, environmental science, mathematics, and statistical science.

Funds dedicated to this initiative will replace TEM in the CMI, as stated in the Cancer Collaborative initiative. Updated TEM instrumentation will enable ultrastructural analysis of chemical composition and 3D reconstruction of nanoparticles, composite/polymer materials, and biological structures, including proteins.

It is our mission to make significant contributions to the discovery and dissemination of Materials Science knowledge and to develop, within a Christian environment, ethical scholars, skilled professionals, and educated leaders who understand the needs of society.  

Goal 1: Implement the Materials Science Initiative.

 Action Steps

1.1    Seek funding opportunities to endow the initiative or to endow components of it through endowed chairs by using the University match program.

1.2    Seek University support to expand the program incrementally through faculty and staff lines, including startup and facilities costs.

1.3    Depending on the success of the program, consider the formation of an Institute that is administered by the Office of the Vice-Provost for Research, Dean of A&S, and Dean of ECS.