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Media Memo: UW System Board of Regents Approves Materials Science Major

TO: News/Assignment Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume, Director

DATE: Dec. 5, 2008

SUBJECT: UW System Board of Regents Approves Materials Science Major

The UW System Board of Regents today (Friday, Dec. 5) approved UW-Eau Claire's new interdisciplinary materials science comprehensive major.

The major in materials science — the study of condensed matter (solids and liquids) and how it can be applied to fabricating devices and structures — is the first new academic program resulting from the state-approved $3 million NanoSTEM initiative. Nearly $2 million of the funds support materials science at UW-Eau Claire.

Through the NanoSTEM initiative, UW-Eau Claire also has established the Institute for Advanced Nanoscience. IAN will promote efforts in basic and applied research, education, product and workforce development, and community outreach in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

The NanoSTEM initiative, which was designed to enhance economic development in the Chippewa Valley and the state, demonstrates how higher education can be a catalyst for economic growth through targeted programs that benefit students and businesses.

The new materials science major will provide Wisconsin businesses with employees who are prepared to work in the newer fields of materials science and nanotechnology. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the employment of materials scientists is expected to grow by 9 percent from 2006-16. Job growth will occur in professional, scientific and technical service firms as companies outsource their testing operations to specialized firms. Employment of materials scientists will grow as manufacturers seek to improve quality by using new materials and manufacturing processes.

To make the NanoSTEM initiative possible, UW-Eau Claire partnered with UW-Stout and the Chippewa valley Technical College in the areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Materials science is closely related to nanoscience, the science of matter at sizes of 100 nanometers or less. Nanotechnology is the design of material on the nanoscale.

For more information about the new major, the Institute for Advanced Nanoscience or the NanoSTEM initiative, contact Materials Science Center co-directors Dr. Doug Dunham at dunhamdj@uwec.edu or Dr. Marc McEllistrem at 715-836-4081 or mcellimt@uwec.edu.

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