NNSA makes awards to nine STEM consortia

April 12, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded nine new grants totaling $40.8 million to minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to promote the development of a diverse, highly skilled, and enduring stream of students in STEM fields who may find careers with the NNSA. Each grant that was awarded has a three- to five-year period of performance.

Funding source: The grants were made through the NNSA’s Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP) program, which now has funded 33 active consortia partnerships that encompass 56 schools and 14 DOE-NNSA laboratories, sites, and plants.

The nine consortia: Following are the consortia that were recently funded by the MSIPP.

  • Consortium on Nuclear Security Technologies (CONNECT), led by the University of Texas–San Antonio and involving partnerships with St. Mary’s University, the University of Nevada–Las Vegas, Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The overarching goal of CONNECT is to expand innovation in nuclear security by educating and training next-generation professionals with backgrounds in nuclear science, fissionable fuels fabrication and processing, and data and visual analytics. CONNECT is a continuation of a previous award, receiving further funding to pursue cutting-edge objectives.
  • The Rio Grande Consortium for Advanced Research on Exascale Simulation (Grande CARES), led by the University of New Mexico and involving partnerships with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico State University, Prairie View A&M University, the University of Texas–El Paso, and Sandia National Laboratories. The Grande CARES team aims to develop a sustainable workforce pathway for students trained in advanced modeling and simulation by bolstering an in-depth understanding of multiphysics concepts from multiple disciplines through research and an innovative curriculum.
  • Enabling Native Researchers and Graduate Engineering (ENRGE), led by Navajo Technical University and involving partnerships with Alabama A&M University, Florida International University, Idaho National Laboratory, and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The goal of the ENRGE consortium is to increase the number of Native American researchers by building the first masters and doctoral degree programs in engineering at tribal universities.
  • Consortium for Education and Research in Electronics for Extreme Environments (E3C), led by the University of Texas–El Paso and involving partnerships with North Carolina A&T State University, the University of New Mexico, Kansas City National Security Campus, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia. E3C offers underrepresented and minority electrical engineers a variety of educational opportunities in technology transfer, research programs, and career development.
  • Partnership for Radiation Studies (PARS), led by Alabama A&M University and involving partnerships with Fisk University, PNNL, and Savannah River National Laboratory. The PARS consortium creates a sustainable pathway for minority students by supporting research and student training opportunities, in collaboration with DOE-NNSA national laboratories.
  • Microelectronics & Materials Engineering Education for Nuclear and Cyber Security (MEMENCYS), led by the University of California–Riverside and involving partnerships with the University of California–Irvine and Sandia. The goal of MEMENCYS is to create a diverse educational pathway in the field of microelectronics, inspiring participants to secure future careers in Nuclear Security Enterprise laboratories.
  • Consortium for Research and Education in Cyber Manufacturing Applications for Modular Nuclear Reactors (CMA-MNuR), led by Florida International University, involving partnerships with Alabama A&M University, the University of Central Florida, LANL, and INL. The objective of CMA-MNuR is to advance cyber-manufacturing technologies in support of nuclear technologies. CMA-MNuR develops STEM students using education and training in the nuclear industry, preparing a diverse workforce for NNSA.
  • Consortium on Sensing, Energy-efficient Electronics and Photonics with 2D Materials and Integrated Systems for Training the Next-Generation DOE-NNSA STEM Workforce (SEEP-IT), led by the University of North Texas and involving partnerships with the University of Texas–Arlington, the University of Arkansas–Pine Bluff, Sandia, and ANL. SEEP-IT increases the number of minority graduates and postdoctoral students through a strong collaborative network with researchers and DOE facilities, increasing the number of students hired into the Nuclear Security Enterprise workforce.
  • MSIPP Gulf Coast Consortium: Materials-At-The-Extreme (MATE)-Material Science for Extreme Environments, led by Florida A&M University and involving partnerships with Prairie View A&M University, Sandia, and LANL. MATE increases research and education opportunities to foster effective relationships with regional institutions focused on advanced material processing, fostering student growth, and establishing career pathways. It will develop a future advanced materials program expected to provide a sustainable model of support for MSI students through graduate school.

She said it: “MSIPP continues to expand its impact nationally, increasing the number of active consortia and strengthening partnerships between minority-serving institutions and DOE and NNSA labs, sites, and plants. In the last year, over 240 MSI students participated in an internship with the Nuclear Security Enterprise,” said Jill Hruby, DOE undersecretary for nuclear security and NNSA administrator. “These experiences positively influence students' professional growth and strengthen the NNSA workforce. We look forward to training the next generation of experts and leaders with diverse academic and professional backgrounds through MSIPP.”

More information is available for the MSIPP at the NNSA.

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