A&M-Central Texas receives $1.5 million grant for collaborative solar research initiative

June 29, 2016
| By: Randy McCauley

Texas A&M University-Central Texas has received a $1.5 million grant through The Texas A&M University System’s Chancellor’s Research Initiative (CRI) to bring an aspiring young researcher, Dr. Taylor Harvey, to the campus to engage in a collaborative solar research initiative.  The award was announced at an event on the A&M-Central Texas campus on June 28.

The CRI was created by Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp in 2012 for the recruitment and hiring of faculty members who will have a tremendous impact upon the academic and research missions of the schools. It has successfully helped to bring Nobel laureates and National Academy members to the Texas A&M System. Initially only available to Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University, last year the program was expanded to other system institutions, including A&M-Central Texas.

“Recruiting outstanding researchers like Dr. Harvey is exactly why I started the Chancellor’s Research Initiative, and I am pleased that A&M-Central Texas is using this resource to grow their research activity,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “This strategic investment is a testament to our ongoing commitment to enable cutting-edge research that fundamentally improves the lives of Texans.”

Dr. Harvey is an award-winning founder and chief technology officer at Lucelo Technologies, a Texas-based company that builds ultra-lightweight, flexible solar cells using solar paint. He earned his Ph.D. in 2014 from The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed ink-deposited solar cells. He received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Brigham Young University in 2006.

“We are looking forward to supporting Dr. Harvey and his research endeavors, and also strengthening the relationships among researchers within TEES and at A&M-Central Texas,” said Dr. Dimitris Lagoudas, Deputy Director of TEES.

In his new position at A&M-Central Texas, Harvey will lead a research team and participate in a collaboration with Texas A&M, TEES and Central Texas College that will focus on developing transformational solar technologies and exploring new ways to reduce costs, ease installation and enhance performance of such technologies.

“This exciting collaborative research initiative will give our campus community – faculty and students alike – access to the best of the best when it comes to research and teaching. Dr. Taylor Harvey will provide the expertise and the vision to help us become a recognized center for solar technology research,” said Dr. Marc A. Nigliazzo, A&M-Central Texas President. “I am very thankful to Chancellor Sharp for making this possible through the Chancellor’s Research Initiative.”

“Like Chancellor Sharp, Dr. Harvey is a true visionary. With the Chancellor’s Research Initiative Funds, Dr. Harvey will be able to change solar from an evolutionary to a revolutionary energy source, impacting future generations as well as our own,” said Dr. Russ Porter, A&M-Central Texas Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

The event concluded with the signing of an affiliation agreement between A&M-Central Texas and the Center for Solar Energy. The university has been engaged with CSE Executive Director Bruce Mercy for over five years to create a hub of research, evaluation, development and testing of emerging solar technologies in Central Texas. This agreement in association with the CRI award is expected to dramatically accelerate collaborative research on solar and other renewable energies in the Central Texas region.

A&M-Central Texas is one of 19 regional divisions within TEES. By building and nurturing relationships with its academic partners, TEES continues to assist in increasing their research capacities and enhancing research experiences for undergraduates.

Photo (from left): Dr. Jon Mogford, Vice Chancellor for Research, Texas A&M System; Sharp; Jim Yeonopolus, Chancellor, Central Texas College; Nigliazzo; Harvey; Bruce Mercy, Executive Director, The Center for Solar Energy; Lagoudas; and Dr. Russ Porter, Vice President for Research and Economic Development, A&M-Central Texas.



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