The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) was one of 44 unique teams to receive its first-ever NSF Engines Development Awards.
When in March 2002, NSF established a new directorate for the first time in more than 30 years focusing on Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) that included the focus on establishing regional “innovation engines” throughout the United States, the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) saw an opportunity to partner and support UNR in order to strengthen the agency’s efforts of turning Nevada into the “Lithium Capital of North America”.
Nevada is the only U.S. state that encompasses every facet of the lithium-ion battery economy and life cycle, from the exploration and mining of natural lithium deposits to the research and development to production and assembly, and finally the recycling operations.
“We would like to congratulate UNR on this tremendous win for Nevada,” said Karsten Heise, GOED Senior Director of Strategic Programs and Innovation. “The importance of this award for Nevada cannot be more highly emphasized. It is an example of how research and intellectual property assets at UNR, GOED’s strategic objectives and support provided by the Knowledge Fund successfully worked together leading to this project being selected among the first ever Type-1 Engine awardees. For the next two years, this award will enable the team to build a diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem that drives economic growth, workforce development, use-inspired research and development, and the translation of innovations to practice around the lithium lifecycle, and will pave the way for the preparation of a strong proposal with the goal to become a future ‘Circular Lithium Economy NSF Engine’ with an opportunity to receive up to $160 million of potential future funding. GOED will be an integral partner in this effort.”