The World Institute for Sustainable Development of Materials will be established at UC Irvine’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering thanks to a $1 million donation announced Wednesday.
The new institute will be known as WISDOM. It will advance interdisciplinary research, education and knowledge translation in an effort to adopt technologies that utilize safer, nontoxic chemicals and materials, with the goal of mitigating environmental impacts.
WISDOM’s potential research areas include the development of materials for advanced energy, transportation and other industrial processes that can mitigate environmental damages, and materials for geoengineering applications, such as solar reflection and greenhouse gas removal.
The institute will be led by Julie Schoenung, chair and professor of materials science and engineering, and Oladele Ogunseitan, UC Presidential Chair and professor of public health.
The donation was made by the Lincoln Dynamic Foundation, created by John D. Lincoln, who received a master’s degree in engineering in 2004 and a doctorate in materials science and engineering in 2007, both at UCI.
“So much of the research in the field of materials science and engineering seeks to address sustainability-related issues, but what is often not recognized is that these technologies require the use of materials and manufacturing processes that might not be sustainable themselves,” said Lincoln, president of the composite materials manufacturer Axiom Materials.
“There is a need to value materials technologies beyond the benefits they deliver in use. Scientists and engineers have the tools to make better environmental decisions about materials before they’re put into use, including characterization of benefits, impacts and environmental sensitivities present at all points in their life cycles. This institute is about putting that into practice.”
The foundation supports programs that focus on children and families, social inequalities, the environment and sustainability, and community enhancement.
The announcement of the donation coincided with UC Irvine’s Giving Day, where the university had a goal of raising 2,600 gifts in 24 hours and reaching 1,200 alumni donors.
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