NRC grants boost young faculty, graduate students in mechanical and nuclear engineering department
Thursday, July 27, 2017
MANHATTAN — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has awarded Kansas State University's mechanical and nuclear engineering department two grants totaling more than $843,000.
The commission is awarding a $450,000 grant to help develop young faculty members' careers and a $393,820 grant to continue the department's nuclear research fellowship program for graduate students.
Both grants are consistent with the university's goal to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025, said William Dunn, professor, department head and principal investigator for the faculty development grant.
The faculty development grant helps the university attract and retain young tenure-track faculty members in nuclear engineering by leveraging funds from other sources to support them and their students, Dunn said.
In the past four years, the department has hired four tenure-track assistant professors, and the faculty development grant funds enable these faculty to recruit top-level graduate students, Dunn said.
"This award will help K-State provide graduate students and their mentors with travel support for collaboration meetings or attendance at conferences, and it will add to the start-up funds for untenured faculty members," Dunn said.
The fellowship grant will cover tuition and fees for students pursuing graduate studies in nuclear engineering. Fellows will conduct numerical and experimental investigations in reactor physics, thermal hydraulics, radiological engineering or other areas relevant to the safe, efficient and effective use of nuclear energy and radiation, said Hitesh Bindra, assistant professor and principal investigator for the grant.
"These funds will help students gain knowledge and skills necessary for careers in the nuclear power industry and related fields," Bindra said. "Because of close collaboration with minority-serving institutions and involvement in other societies with campus diversity goals, the fellowship program will provide an opportunity to attract the best students to nuclear engineering."
A previous fellowship grant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission helped the university recruit three doctoral students in nuclear engineering who plan to graduate in 2018. The continuation of this program will assist the university in increasing the number of doctoral graduates in nuclear engineering, which is a direct measure of the success of the department, Bindra said.
"These grants will really help take our department to the next level," Bindra said. "I am excited to see K-State's nuclear engineering graduate program become one of the best in the nation."