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Institute for Integrated Catalysis

PNNL to Partner with University of Oregon

Agreement to benefit students, research and create funding opportunities

(October 2016)

Karl Mueller working on instrument
Karl Mueller, an expert in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is expected to hold the first joint appointment at UO. Students will have opportunities to work with world-class researchers and instruments like this 850-MHz wide-bore NMR.
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A new agreement between DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Oregon will allow scientists, including those working in the catalysis field, to obtain joint appointments that bridge the two research institutions. The agreement paves the way for greater collaboration between the two institutions, which have partnered in the past on numerous projects but never under such a broad agreement.

"This is the culmination of a couple of decades of deep collaboration between researchers at the UO and PNNL scientists," said Jim Hutchison, UO's Lokey-Harrington Chair in chemistry and associate vice president for research. "This enhanced partnership will allow us to build on those successes and both institutions will be enriched by this continued and expanded exchange of expertise and knowledge."

UO researchers will benefit from their exposure to the high-impact team research environment at PNNL, and UO's expertise in materials synthesis, electrocatalysis, green chemistry and other areas will help complement PNNL's strengths.

"PNNL scientists with joint appointments will serve as mentors to UO graduate students, and both groups will gain access to new tools and technologies," said Doug Ray, director of strategic partnerships at PNNL. "The collaboration will help both institutions tackle challenges of global importance with an initial focus on materials that impact energy production, storage, environment and national security."

"This mutually beneficial agreement will strengthen ties between our two institutions," said David Conover, UO's vice president for research and innovation. "It will open up new avenues of external research funding and provide exciting opportunities for our graduate students to work at one of the premier research centers in the country."

The initial commitment of the joint appointment agreement is focused on chemistry, biochemistry and materials science. In the near future, Ray says, there is mutual interest in building stronger connections in the life sciences as well as in high-energy physics. The first appointments will be connected to UO's Energy and Sustainable Materials Cluster of Excellence, which seeks to build upon the established record of excellence in materials science at UO by hiring three new faculty members and creating a collaborative team of researchers.

These appointments from PNNL will strengthen our team, particularly in the energy and sustainable materials area, and complement the tenure-line hires we are currently targeting," said Shannon Boettcher, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of UO's Energy and Sustainable Materials initiative. "This will allow us to increase the impact of our research program and, ultimately, the ability to positively affect society at large."

Students in the UO's Graduate Internship Program will also benefit from the new agreement. A blend of real-world training and graduate level instruction, the program fast-tracks students into scientific careers in high-tech growth sectors such as semiconductor technology, polymer materials and optical materials and devices. Under the new agreement, there will be opportunities to expand the Graduate Internship Program into new emerging technology sectors, including some of PNNL's areas of research expertise.

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