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Lehigh University gets $1.2M in grants to continue materials and energy research

Lehigh University is receiving $1.2 million in state grants to continue initiatives that put academic research to work in the business world.

Out of that total, $600,000 will go toward research on materials and nanotechnology. Most of it will pay for staff members and academic scientists who work with companies that use Lehigh's research facilities, says Martin Harmer, director of the university's Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. Lehigh has partnered with about 30 companies, including Silberline, a Tamaqua-based maker of industrial pigments and coatings.

Another $600,000 will go to the Energy and Environmental Research Initiative at Lehigh. Some of it will fund research on new energy technologies and a joint program with Northampton Community College that assists businesses that want to use alternative energy sources. The rest will support a new professional master's degree program in Energy Systems Engineering, which graduated its first 24 students last year -- all of whom got jobs in the field of electric utilities and distribution, according to Dr. Alan Snyder, Lehigh's vice president and associate provost for research and graduate studies.

The grants were approved by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. Support from the state has helped Lehigh secure other grants, including some from the federal government.

Sources: Martin Harmer and Alan Snyder, Lehigh University
Writer: Rebecca VanderMeulen
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