Last Monday(8 May 2023), the federal government awarded three public colleges in Oregon $1 million to conduct research over the course of two years.
The National Science Foundation awarded innovation grants totaling $1 million to the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Portland State University, with money coming from the CHIPS and Science Act.
The institutions will use these funds to study the potential of smart grids, mass wood, and semiconductor technologies.
“These competitive grants awarded to these university researchers in our state demonstrate clearly how Oregon combines world-class science with cutting-edge opportunities in semiconductors, mass timber, and smart grid technologies,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said in a press release issued by his office.
“That adds up to a well-deserved triple crown of success for OSU, the U-of-O, and PSU that will generate good-paying jobs in our state and continued economic growth in rural, urban, and suburban communities.”
Oregon’s Democrat U.S. senator, Jeff Merkley, agrees that the allocation of this grant money will lead to an increase in employment.
“The future of manufacturing is in Oregon, from semiconductor advancements and mass wood to smart grid technologies,” Merkley said in the release. “These competitive medals affirm Oregon’s dedication to innovative research and will create job opportunities and support economic growth for communities across the state.”
One million dollars were awarded to the University of Oregon to organize a group of experts to study the effects of mass timber in building, manufacturing, and forest management. Carbon-storing mass timber is made from small pieces of dimensional lumber, wood veneer, and wood chips that are bonded together.
“Applying mass timber products in buildings can significantly reduce the carbon footprint while also improving forest health and mitigating catastrophic wildfires by using wood fiber from restoration projects involving selective harvesting of small-diameter logs,” the release said.
To help lead an effort to improve semiconductor technology in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon State University was awarded $1 million.
“The OSU-led semiconductor work aims to develop a regional innovation ecosystem that expands discovery and entrepreneurship and creates training programs to enable a diverse semiconductor workforce by creating clearer pathways to semiconductor careers and raising awareness of these opportunities,” the release said.
In addition, the statement states that Portland State University has been awarded $1 million to spearhead the development of “smart electrical grid” technologies through study.
Challenges to the expansion of smart grids will be investigated, and strategies to solve them will be developed as part of this project.
“The next generation of smart grids will automatically adjust load and supply–taking energy from home batteries and electric vehicles during peak demand and recharging them when there is excess supply,” the release said.