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Alfred University gets $4M for ceramics research with Army as partner

Alfred University

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (second from left) announced Friday that Alfred University would receive a $4 million grant for ceramics research with the U.S. Army. Gabrielle Gaustad (left) is dean of the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred; Scott Misture (second from right) is Inamori Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. At right is Alfred University President Mark Zupan.

Schumer, D-N.Y., said the grant will support the development of ceramic materials to strengthen national security and boost the Southern Tier economy. The funding also represents one of the largest single investments ever by the federal government in Alfred University research, according to Schumer’s office, which noted the university is one of the only facilities in the country with the technology and expertise to make such scientific breakthroughs.

The U.S. Army-Alfred University project will focus on the development of heat-resistant ceramic materials “that are critical to our national security, especially as foreign powers such as Russia and China are investing heavily in research for (similar materials),” Schumer said.

“Alfred University will soon be a kiln of innovation for the U.S. Army,” he added. “This research can only be done with expertise and facilities we have here in Allegany County and is going to help us stay ahead in the defense industry (and) strengthen our national defense, all while creating the next generation of the Southern Tier’s scientific workforce.”

Alfred President Mark Zupan said, “We are deeply grateful to Sen. Schumer for his support of this project. This partnership with the Army Research Laboratory affirms Alfred University’s standing as a leader in … ceramic materials research.”

Gabrielle Gaustad, dean of the Inamori School of Engineering, added, “This has the potential to be one the most significant research awards Alfred University has ever landed. The resources provided by this collaboration could change the trajectory of our ceramic engineering and materials science program in very exciting ways.”

Schumer’s office noted Alfred is a leader in advanced ceramics research and ceramic engineering, “as one of the only schools in the nation that has a rigorous ceramics-engineering program. As a result, Alfred is uniquely positions to partner with Army researchers to develop ceramics technology to strengthen our national security in the growing … race (for high-speed materials).”

Joining Schumer, Zupan and Gaustad in the McMahon Engineering Building were Scott Misture, Inamori Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and several additional faculty members of the Inamori School of Engineering. Gaustad said Misture will lead the Alfred team of scientists in researching ceramic materials for the Army project.