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New Mexico Tech and partners receive million-dollar development award

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May 11, 2023

New Mexico Tech is a partner in a project that has been awarded $1 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines, program. NMT and its partners are among the more than 40 unique teams to receive one of the first-ever NSF Engines Development Awards, which aim to help partners collaborate to create economic, societal and technological opportunities for their regions. The grant funding – $1 million to cover a two-year period – is the first step toward a possible 10-year, $160 million NSF investment.

Focusing on sustainable energy resources and workforce development, New Mexico Tech, six other regional universities, two national laboratories, and a center for advanced energy research recently formed a consortium called the Permian Energy Development Laboratory (PEDL) aimed at developing and diversifying the Permian Basin’s long-term economic sustainability. The initial work conducted within that collaboration led to PEDL’s application for the NSF funding.

The NSF Engines program is a transformational investment for the nation, ensuring the U.S. remains in the vanguard of competitiveness for decades to come. Launched by NSF’s new Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) and authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the NSF Engines program uniquely harnesses the nation’s science and technology research and development enterprise and regional-level resources.

Dr. Michael Doyle, NMT’s vice president for research, said he was pleased to have NMT receive an award in this directorate’s first funding initiative.

“I’m happy to see NSF devoting significant resources toward use-inspired research, and how translation of research impacts the market and society,” he said. “This investment will pay off in advanced energy research and development.”

Dr. Nelia Dunbar, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources director, state geologist, and one of NMT’s representatives for the PEDL, said the proposal will be great for New Mexico, because the research will focus on supporting communities in the Permian Basin of New Mexico and Texas through the ongoing energy transition.

“The goal of the work will be to encourage public-private partnerships in energy research and also to support evolution of workforce capabilities,” she said.