News: CJ Exclusives

UNCG, A&T Eye Nano Program

Universities hope to offer nanotechnology degrees beginning 2008

UNC-Greensboro and North Carolina A&T officials recently submitted a request to the University of North Carolina general administration to operate a school of nanotechnology and nanoengineering.

If approved by the Board of Governors, students would be enrolled starting in the fall 2008. The program would mark the second time the two schools together offered a degree program. The schools already offer a combined master’s degree in social work.

School officials have requested a total of $65 million, including funding for new buildings and other operational costs, from UNC in the 2007-2010 budget for the program. Should the Board of Governors approve the program, its budget would still require approval by the General Assembly.

Nanotechnology is focused on microscopic research and development concepts.

Program designers, which included a 19-member committee of administrators and faculty members, think the program will ignite economic change in the Piedmont Triad region.

“The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering will share the future of Greensboro and the Piedmont by positioning these areas at the cutting-edge of some of the most exciting developments in the sciences and engineering in the 21st century,” the program’s project summary says. “[The project] represents the type of innovative, collaborative thinking necessary to move the Piedmont Triad from a manufacturing-based to a knowledge-based economy. This joint venture has the potential to unify the community around an economic development initiative as never before.”

Program officials have submitted a $10 million request for a laboratory, estimated to be completed in 2009. The request also included plans for a $50 million building that would include, among other things, office space labs and classrooms. The building is planned to be operational by 2011.

The proposed buildings are slated for construction at the South Campus of the Greensboro Center for Innovative Development.

UNC-Greensboro Provost A. Edward Uprichard said he thinks the program would be a national model if approved. “If this gets funded, it will be seminal event for Greensboro and the Triad,” Uprichard said.

Shannon Blosser is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.