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Northwestern Materials Research Science & Engineering Center

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MRSEC: Multifunctional Nanoscale Material Structures  (Northwestern University)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Northwestern University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). MRSECs support interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering that are important to society.

The MRSEC program at Northwestern currently supports four Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs). These IRGs cover a range of research from fundamental solid-state science to engineering application of polymer processing. For example, one group seeks to advance fundamental knowledge leading to the development of energy-efficient and novel multifunctional devices for electronic, optoelectronic, storage, sensor and information technologies. The Center also supports seed groups that focus their efforts on new and emerging areas of interest, allowing the center to respond to new scientific developments.

Education & Outreach

NU-MRSEC seeks to revitalize interest in science and engineering by providing educational programs for pre-college students, undergraduates, underrepresented minorities, graduate students, as well as high school teachers and community college professors.

At the undergraduate level, the Center offers a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program over a 9-week period each summer. During the program, students conduct cutting-edge experimental or theoretical research with the Center's distinguished faculty. The students live together in on-campus housing to foster networking and social interactions. In addition, the Center collaborates with Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Ireland that provides an 11-week REU-Ireland summer program. The Center also offers an Undergraduate Research Internship program in which Northwestern undergraduates conduct research part time during the academic year.

For middle school, high school and community college science educators, the Center offers a summer Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. During the 8-week program, participating teachers engage in research as well as develop ways to bring their experience back to their classrooms. At Chute Middle School in Evanston, NU-MRSEC runs the CHANSE program in which Northwestern students and postdoctoral associates organize and hold weekly after-school interactive sessions to introduce materials science to 6th-8th graders.

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  • Image from an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).
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