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Georgia Southern lands $360K National Science Foundation grant

POSTED: June 20, 2013 6:46 p.m.

STATESBORO—Valentin Soloiu, the Allen E. Paulson Chair of Renewable Energy at Georgia Southern University, has been awarded a $360,000 research for undergraduates grant from the National Science Foundation. The program, under Soloiu’s direction, will start next summer and be available to students across the country to explore solutions to energy problems.

"This puts us in an extraordinary position to reach out to undergraduate engineering students nationally and help boost their interest in research with hands-on learning," said Soloiu. "The program that I have designed will allow students to perform research on our campus, and they will work on formulating new biofuels, hybrid combustion technologies, renewable energy, automotive engineering and many other areas."

Georgia Southern will collaborate with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to recruit participants for the program. Ten students will be selected to spend ten weeks on campus every summer for the next three years. They will rotate through work stations in GSU’s renewable energy and engines lab while broadening their horizons about engineering careers.

The program titled "Undergraduate Research in Green-Engineered New Transportation Technologies (URGENTT)" aims to increase students’ interest in conducting research, expand basic understanding of interdisciplinary concepts through hands-on-learning, enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics problem-solving skills, and develop an ability to apply those topics to a research problem.

Eight Georgia Southern faculty will also support the summer program including the College of Engineering and Information Technology, the College of Science and Technology and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Scholarship. The Department of English will offer assistance in teaching students to write reports and communicate effectively during presentations.

"We want to do everything we can to prepare the next generation of scientific leaders," explained Soloiu. "I expect this grant will continue to elevate us to a national level and generate a lot of interest in what we have to offer at Georgia Southern. Maybe these undergraduates who spend their summers with us will return to our campus and pursue master’s degrees."

Learn more about the renewable energy and engines lab by visiting http://ceit.georgiasouthern.edu/engine/.

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