U of L and UK put rivalry aside to win federal science grant - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L and UK put rivalry aside to win federal science grant

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There's a huge athletic rivalry between the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, but in the technology arena, the two are joining forces.

From sensors, to chips and film, micro and nanotechnology are a part of our everyday lives.

"Take a look at your cellphone. It contains a lot of micro and nanotechnology, and automobiles and wearables," said Kevin Walsh, professor of Electrical Computer Engineering at U of L.

U of L prides itself in having premiere programs in the micro and nanotechnology fields, but are always looking for ways to make it stronger.

Hoping to win a grant from the National Science Foundation, professors at U of L realized they couldn't enter the competition alone.

"Because U of L has some particular strengths and UK has some particular strengths, we thought we'd make a competitive team if we went in together," said Walsh.

More than 100 universities entered the competition but only 16 were chosen, and the U of L and UK collaboration paid off. As the winners, the two universities will split a $3.76 million grant to advance research in nanoscale science, engineering and technology.

The money will be used to create a national center of excellence.

"Our national center of excellence will be distributed between Louisville and Lexington. It consists of eight core facilities:  four key facilities in Louisville and four key facilities at UK," Walsh explained.

U of L and UK officials believe the entire state will benefit from this unique partnership.

"This award is going to draw people from all over the country, both from industry and academia to do research in the commonwealth.  And a lot of people may relocate small companies here," said Todd Hastings, professor of electrical engineering at UK.

The two universities will also use the grant to hire new employees.

In addition, they plan to launch new programs to attract minorities and women in Science, Technology and Engineering fields.

It's a meeting of the minds that you don't see too often between these two highly competitive, rivalry schools.

"That ends on the field and the court. There's no way we could have done this alone," said Hastings.

After the first five years, the National Science Foundation will review the status of the program and could extend it for another five years, adding another $3.7 million grant for both universities.

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