URC grant draws more federal support

A $523,282 seed grant from Michigan's University Research Corridor has already helped generate a U.S. Energy Department recommendation for $12.5 million in additional federal support.

The URC, an alliance of Michigan State University, U-M and Wayne State University, was founded to leverage the power of Michigan's research universities to transform the state's economy.

Last May, the URC announced its first seed fund grants to provide startup support for two energy projects and the largest has helped bring new federal grants to Michigan.

The URC grant went to a team that recently won the support of U.S. Department of Energy officials recommending a $12.5 million grant for a new Energy Frontier Research Center at MSU, one of 46 to be established nationwide.

The project aims to advance the scientific understanding of the thermoelectric energy conversion process, potentially leading to more efficient utilization of energy resources.

University Research Corridor scientists from MSU, U-M and WSU, along with Northwestern University, Ohio State University, UCLA and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are all collaborating on the project. More than $8 million of the recommended $12.5 million would be spent within the state of Michigan, according to initial estimates.

U-M also won support for its own Energy Frontier Center to explore new materials to better convert solar energy to electricity, winning DOE funding of about $19.5 million.