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Montana Tech Receives $1.1 Million for Materials Research and Development


Army Research Lab awarded a 5-year Cooperative Agreement to Montana Tech on March 5, 2015. The initial amount awarded for the first year is $1,164,205. Senator Jon Tester helped secure this funding.  

The funding from the Army Research Lab supports Montana Tech's efforts in a broad range of materials processing research and development, with a focus on developing, characterizing and reducing the cost and environmental impact of strategic materials of near-term and long-term importance to the protection and effectiveness of the warfighter and supporting systems. Research the first year will be carried out on nanomaterials, additive manufacturing, ceramic and composite materials, and other strategic minerals and metals.   

"Montana Tech appreciates the confidence Senator Tester has in our ability to conduct this important research," said Montana Tech Chancellor Don Blackketter. "Not only will this agreement be used to provide important results in support of the military, it will also be leveraged to produce doctoral graduates for the nation's future."  

It is the first year of an agreement of up to five years with the Army Research Lab to conduct this critical research. The potential value of the agreement is over $15 million, pending annual additions.   

"The work of students and faculty at Montana Tech continues to catch the attention of folks across the country," Tester said.  "This agreement with the Army strengthens Montana Tech's ability to conduct research essential to our national security and provides students with an exceptional educational experience.  These investments will continue to expand the Materials Science Ph.D. program at Montana Tech and drive even more graduates to good paying jobs."

"This funding is both a wonderful opportunity for Montana Tech in materials research and a recognition of our wealth of expertise and capabilities in this field," noted Beverly Hartline, Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies at Montana Tech. "The funding will engage materials science PhD students, master's students, and undergraduates at Tech in exciting, forefront materials research projects that contribute to national security and are mentored by faculty in several departments."

The Year 1 research projects include:

  • Polymer-based functional materials by design, led by Jack Skinner and his students.
  • Innovations in materials processing and additive manufacturing, involving Bruce Madigan, K.V. Sudhakar, David Hobbs, and Jeff Braun and their students.
  • Materials by design: synthesis and sintering of ceramic and composite materials, led by Jerry Downey and his students.
  • Recovery of Rare Earth Elements with Advanced Processing Technologies, involving Courtney Young, Bill Gleason, Jerry Downey, and their students.
  • Managing digital data and metadata and education/outreach, led by Bev Hartline and Ron White to involve and support the above faculty, students, and tasks.  

Tester, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured additional funds for materials research in the last two appropriation bills and advocated for Montana Tech to be chosen to perform materials research and development for the Army Research Lab.