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Enabling Innovative Nanotechnology Research and Training
September 18, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Speaker: Maude Cuchiara
Title: Enabling Innovative Nanotechnology Research and Training
Nanotechnology has been at the center of countless discoveries and innovations in independent scientific disciplines as well as interdisciplinary fields. Critical to these endeavors is a robust infrastructure that enables diverse researchers to fabricate and characterize nanomaterials, nanostructures, and nanodevices and effectively trains the next generation of scientists in cutting-edge techniques. The Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN) provides this type of dynamic environment. This talk will highlight the role that I play to enhance this ecosystem and describe its impacts on scientific research and education. The principal goal of the RTNN is to increase access to nanotechnology facilities through innovative programming that overcomes common barriers to access: distance, cost, and awareness. Current efforts include the Kickstarter Program, which provides non-traditional and new users with free access to facilities; Nanotechnology, A Maker’s Course, a free massive open online course focused on nanotechnology tools; and Community Engagement Programs, where staff bring a portable scanning electron microscope to schools, libraries, and museums. Through these and other programs, we engage over 10,000 people annually across the world, and we have leveraged the RTNN to pursue complementary research and education opportunities. One example is our Research Experience for Teachers (RET) site, “Atomic Scale Design and Engineering” where teachers conduct novel research and then create and share lesson plans linked to their work. We are also developing a series of short courses aimed at educating the existing workforce in the fabrication of wide bandgap power devices. In the coming decade, new embodiments of infrastructure and training programs will be essential to address emerging scientific challenges, e.g. in quantum technologies, the human-technology interface, and sustainable energy. Due to my experience in growing the RTNN, I am well-positioned to develop and advance creative new programs that span institutions, disciplines, and educational levels. By meeting these needs head-on, NC State is poised to thrive as a national leader in infrastructure and training programs.