Three Oregon universities receive $1 million federal research grants

Three public universities in Oregon received $1 million, two-year federal research grants last week.

The University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Portland State University each got a $1 million innovation award from the National Science Foundation; the grant funding came from the CHIPS and Science Act.

The universities will use these grants to research semiconductor, mass timber, and smart grid technologies.

“These competitive grants awarded to these university researchers in our state demonstrate clearly how Oregon combines world-class science with cutting-edge opportunities in semiconductors, mass timber, and smart grid technologies,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said in a press release issued by his office. “That adds up to a well-deserved triple crown of success for OSU, the U-of-O, and PSU that will generate good-paying jobs in our state as well as continued economic growth in rural, urban, and suburban communities.”

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, also thinks this grant money will help create job opportunities.

“The future of manufacturing is in Oregon, from semiconductor advancements and mass wood to smart grid technologies,” Merkley said in the release. “These competitive medals affirm Oregon’s dedication to innovative research and will create job opportunities and support economic growth for communities across the state.”

The University of Oregon received $1 million to lead a coalition in researching mass timber architecture, engineering, and construction, plus manufacturing and forest management.

Mass timber uses small-scale dimensional lumber, wood veneer, and chips fastened together to create materials that store carbon.

"Applying mass timber products in buildings can significantly reduce the carbon footprint while also improving forest health and mitigating catastrophic wildfires by using wood fiber from restoration projects involving selective harvesting of small-diameter logs," the release said.

Oregon State University received $1 million to lead a group hoping to advance semiconductor technology in the Pacific Northwest.

"The OSU-led semiconductor work aims to develop a regional innovation ecosystem that expands discovery and entrepreneurship and creates training programs to enable a diverse semiconductor workforce by creating clearer pathways to semiconductor careers and raising awareness of these opportunities," the release said.

Additionally, Portland State University received $1 million to lead research in the creation of "smart electrical grid" technology, according to the release.

The project will try to identify obstacles to growing smart grids and create plans to overcome such issues.

"The next generation of smart grids will automatically adjust load and supply–taking energy from home batteries and electric vehicles during peak demand and recharging them when there is excess supply," the release said.

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