The state’s three largest public research institutions have signed an agreement to increase research collaborations and provide more research and training opportunities for students.
The memorandum of understanding was signed recently by leaders at the University of Washington, Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
“By working together, we can increase the impact and raise the visibility of the science and technology that our state is delivering to address pressing challenges in energy, the environment and global security,” said PNNL Director Steven Ashby in a release. “We are especially well positioned to provide national leadership in clean energy, materials science and advanced computing, among other areas.”
PNNL and the two universities already collaborate on several research efforts. Recently, the three institutions were selected to host a federal-state clean energy testbed project designed to develop and demonstrate the technologies needed to create smart buildings, campuses and cities which better manage energy use.
The Transactive Campus project is building on previous collaborations between the three institutions in the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, whose results are helping create a more efficient and effective power grid.
Another recent collaboration is the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials, or JCDREAM. Established by the state Legislature in 2015, JCDREAM is a three-member partnership designed to accelerate the development of next generation clean energy and transportation technologies, specifically looking at replacing reliance on precious metals with Earth-abundant materials.
And in the last four months, the three institutions have been awarded multimillion dollar projects to bring smart manufacturing technology to energy intensive manufacturing in the Pacific Northwest and to better understand the chemistry of radioactive waste in order to enable more effective cleanup. The Department of Energy is funding both of these projects.
One outcome of the new agreement will be increasing the number of joint or dual appointments at the three institutions.
Another priority outlined in the agreement will be bringing more science and engineering graduate students to PNNL.
More than 100 students from UW and WSU are currently participating in internship or other programs at PNNL’s main campus in Richland, and its marine sciences laboratory in Sequim, Washington. That number will grow significantly as a result of the new agreement, as will the number of dual staff and faculty appointments, a release said.
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