Foundation gives CMU $30 million for energy institute
By Craig Smith
Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013, 10:27 a.m.
A $30 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation could help Carnegie Mellon University find the next Jay Whitacre.
An associate professor of materials science and engineering at the university, Whitacre developed a novel sodium-ion battery that can store power for later use in the electrical grid. The technology attracted the attention — and investment — of Microsoft's Bill Gates and others, and the Whitacre-founded Aquion Energy will open a manufacturing plant near Pittsburgh next year.
“We'd love to have a couple more Jay Whitacres. .... He helped design the batteries for the Mars rover,” said M. Granger Morgan, director of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, which began in September. Morgan is head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Engineering and Public Policy.
Whitacre said the Mellon Foundation grant “is absolutely going to help move forward the Scott Institute,” which has an advantage over other facilities because various research components can have ready access to each other.
The university said Thursday the $30 million gift to expand its strategic initiative to address energy research, education and innovation is the largest private foundation grant in its history. The gift will allow the Scott Institute to build upon the energy-related work already done at the campus and “take it to the next level,” Morgan said.
Another gift from the foundation, a $7 million grant to Seton Hill University, will help build a Health Sciences Center on the school's main campus in Greensburg, officials said.
The project is part of the university's long-term expansion plan. The grant is the largest gift in the school's history, said Michele Ridge, chairwoman of the board of trustees.
“The foundation's gift helps the university ascend to a new era of excellence in the sciences,” Ridge said.
The three-story center will feature an all-glass cylindrical entrance and interior connections to Lynch Hall, the science building.
Carnegie Mellon's Scott Institute in February released its first round of seed grants to explore technology, policy issues on energy efficiency and new energy sources.
The Mellon Foundation gift will support energy research projects, faculty and student recruitment, and construction of the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall, which will house the Scott Institute.
The gift follows the foundation's previous record-setting $25 million grant to CMU in 2007 to fund life sciences initiatives.
Staff writer Kari Andren contributed to this story. Craig Smith is a staff writer at Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cueto gets best of Bucs, as Reds take series
- Peduto says Penguins playoff series will be economic boon
- Starkey: Fleury’s future at stake
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- ‘We’re so proud’ Obama says of job training students at CCAC West Hills Center
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Authorities plan to withdraw charge against bullied South Fayette student
- Penguins’ Malkin expects to play in Game 1
- South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
- Breaking down Thursday’s Pirates-Brewers game
- Beaver Co. man indicted on federal sex crime