Edwin L. Aguirre
UMass Lowell’s role as a leader in the emerging energy industry got a lift from a recent $95,000 grant from the UMass President’s Science & Technology (S&T) Initiatives Fund.
“The Emerging Energy Innovation Institute will generate economic growth in the Commonwealth and foster scientific advancement by leveraging the university’s expertise wind turbine technology, solar energy systems, nuclear energy, biofuels and energy storage,” says Niezrecki.
The primary goal of the EEII is to build a nationally recognized academic and research hub for energy innovation in the City of Lowell through company outreach, cross-campus collaboration with other UMass campuses and regional universities, seed-funding venture competitions and clean energy workshops.
“The institute will bring together a dynamic group of faculty, entrepreneurs and researchers that encompasses the diversity of the New England institutions to work collaboratively with regional, national and international partners to address the national and global challenges of energy and environmental sustainability,” says Niezrecki.
The UMass President’s Science & Technology Initiatives Fund is a competitive program supporting faculty projects from the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester campuses that advance research in areas of strategic importance to the Commonwealth.
“These S&T funds empower our faculty, strengthen our research enterprise and spur breakthroughs that boost the economy and improve lives,” says UMass President Marty Meehan. “I’m proud to support our faculty while advancing our critical mission as a world-class public research university.”
Meehan says the grants have generated a tremendous return on investment to the UMass campuses and to the state, strengthening the UMass system’s engagement in key research areas including life sciences, data science, climate science and advanced manufacturing. “This program underscores how critical a strong public research university is to the future of the state,” he adds.
Industry Collaboration and Workforce Development
According to the Mass Clean Energy Center, in 2015, clean energy in Massachusetts was an $11 billion industry, supporting more than 98,000 jobs in over 6,000 companies.
“The continued growth in this sector is supported by the Commonwealth’s nation-leading policy commitment to carbon reduction and related research investments,” says Niezrecki. “UMass Lowell is well-positioned to become a major research and development partner and supplier of highly qualified workers for companies in this rapidly growing and dynamically changing energy sector, building on our current successful industry collaborations.”
Two other projects led by UMass Lowell faculty also won S&T grants.
ChemistryAssoc. Prof. Matthew Gage
, who directs the department’s Protein Chemistry Laboratory, was awarded $25,000 to form UMOVE, the UMass Movement Research Center. Gage is collaborating with researchers from UMass Amherst and UMass Medical School to study the mechanics of movement
and muscle function as people age.