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LOWELL -- U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) today visited UMass Lowell and delivered a $2 million check for nanomanufacturing research. The funds were obtained in the FY07 Defense Appropriations Act which was recently signed by President Bush.
The funds will be used for the nanomanufacturing of multi-functional sensors, which will aid detection of threats to a soldier’s environment, in partnership with the Army Research Laboratory. A portion of the funds can be used toward the completion of an $80 million UMass Lowell Advanced Manufacturing Facility which has a target completion date of 2010.
“We ask, where does Massachusetts fit in… in terms of global competition? The bottom line is ߝ success is going to those states that have innovative industries,” said Kennedy. “You are where it’s at,” he said, addressing those from UMass Lowell. “It is important that the state catch up with you. It’s important that the nation catch up with you. Ensuring that those fighting will have the best technology ߝ that’s being done here at UMass Lowell.”
Meehan said, “It is not an exaggeration to say that practically every material we use today will be reengineered at the nano level to make it better in some significant way over the next ten to twenty years. UMass Lowell, because of its rich history in manufacturing and polymers, is uniquely positioned to become a world leader in nanomanufacturing. The Nanomanufacturing Center will bring thousands of jobs to the region and keep Massachusetts on the cutting edge of this important technology."
Nanotechnology refers to creating and discovering tools and products that are built at the nano scale. The researchers at UMass Lowell will take the advances of nanotechnology and learn how to produce them at a high rate, at a high volume, but at a low cost.
“We have four world-class scientists right here ߝ three women and a man,” said University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson. “You have helped make Massachusetts the ‘nano’ capital of the world.”
“Our nation's defense will be well-served by the nanomanufacturing team on this campus. I am pleased to see that the Congress agrees and I am very grateful for the support of our delegation in Washington,” said UMass Lowell Interim Chancellor David J. MacKenzie.
Julie Chen, UMass Lowell professor of mechanical engineering and a lead researcher on the sensors project, addressed the federal and state legislators, saying, “You are helping us to push the turbo button so we can accelerate the work that is being done here.”
Lending their congratulations to the research effort were Lowell’s mayor, William Martin, and its State House delegation: Sen. Steven C. Panagiotakos and Reps. Thomas Golden, Kevin Murphy and David Nangle. The delegation helped secure $35 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Facility in this past legislative session.
UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.