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The Center for Energetic Non-Equilibrium Chemistry at Interfaces

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CCI Phase I: Center for Energetic Non-Equilibrium Chemistry at Interfaces (CENECI)  (University of Chicago)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Center for Energetic Non-Equilibrium Chemistry at Interfaces (CENECI) seeks to discover, characterize and subsequently utilize a wide range of highly energetic and non-equilibrium chemical processes at interfaces. This will enable transformative advances in catalysis, materials growth and processing, and condensed-state environmental chemistry.

CENECI will support collaborative and team-based discovery that integrates researchers at multiple institutions. Postdoctoral fellows and students at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels will conduct research at more than one CENECI laboratory enabled by cyberinfrastructure links among all of the groups that allow ready participation in meetings, seminars, computation, and experiments from afar.

CENECI is funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) Program, which supports research centers that can address major, long-term fundamental chemical research challenges that have a high probability of both producing transformative research and leading to innovation. These Centers will attract broad scientific and public interest by sharing the results of their innovative approaches.

Education & Outreach

A comprehensive education and outreach program will accompany CENECI activities at all institutions, with the first phase focused on enriching chemistry education among local Hispanic and African-American K-12 populations in Chicago, Madison, and Boston, as well as the Native American communities of Montana. A major component of the public outreach effort will be the CENECI Outreach Fellows Program (COFP). Selected undergraduates, graduate students, and post-docs from all Center labs will comprise the COFP team, whose activities will enhance the learning experience of CENECI presenters by exposing them to cultural and socioeconomic groups that they might not otherwise have a chance to meet. CENECI believes it is vital that students and post-docs learn to communicate complex research material to a diverse and broadly educated audience. The COFP will begin as a pilot program in Montana, with developmental input from all CENECI investigators, and will later be expanded to all CENECI institutions.

CENECI is dedicated to integrating members of under-represented groups into its scientific endeavors, including the recruitment of women and minorities as active graduate students and post-docs in all CENECI labs. A further goal is to involve minority undergraduate and high school students in all CENECI labs.

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Related Institutions

Argonne National Laboratory
Cabot Microelectronics Corporation
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Montana State University
The Museum of Science and Industry
Nalco Company
Northwestern University
University of Wisconsin, Madison


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