LOGAN – Two large grants totaling over $830,000 serve to support Utah State University’s standing as a national leader in nuclear engineering research.
Dr. Ryan Berke is an assistant professor in USU’s department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
”These are fantastic grants,” Dr. Berke exclaims. “They give us a lot of flexibility to do all sorts of nuclear-related work. We are the nearest PhD-granting school in any of our engineering programs to Idaho National Lab where a lot of the federal nuclear research goes on.
“So this really helps us to have a lot of flexibility and resources to be able to continue the great collaborations we do with them.”
Dr. Berke is the lead investigator on the first grant.
”It is a fellowship program to attract top graduate students to Utah State for the purpose of doing nuclear engineering research. And so we’ve got about 10 or 12 faculty under the heading of nuclear here,” he continues. “So, it’s structured really to be flexible for them to work with any other faculty.
“The other grant is what is called a faculty development grant. The lead (principal investigator) on that is Professor Barton Smith. But, really, the purpose of that grant is to develop two of the junior faculty in our department, Geordie Richards and Hailei Wang.”
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently awarded the two grants.
Dr. Berke says the funding will support scholarships, fellowships and faculty development.
In addition to an active student chapter of the American Nuclear Society, USU is also home to the newly-formed Thermohydraulics and Material Properties Research Center.