NAE Selects Recipients for The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants for Advancement of Interdisciplinary Research

Release Date: 03/13/2015

For Immediate Release
Randy Atkins
Senior Media Relations Officer
Phone: 202.334.1508,
Janet Hunziker
Senior Program Officer, Frontiers of Engineering
Phone: 202.334.1571,

Washington, DC, March 13, 2015 – The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants for Advancement of Interdisciplinary Research have been awarded to selected participants of the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2014 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. Two pairs of grantees will receive $30,000.

Danielle Tullman-Ercek (University of California, Berkeley) and David Mascarenas (Los Alamos National Laboratory) will receive a Grainger Grant for their proposal, “Structural Materials Capable of Precisely Timed, Self-Degradation: A Synthetic/Chemical Biology Approach.” The grant will support the team’s work in developing a new class of adhesives with the ability to degrade their structural properties at a specified time. The adhesives, known as “programmable structural materials,” could be used in a variety of fields including security, medicine, aerospace, agriculture, construction, and transportation.

The second Grainger Grant has been awarded to Andrea Alu (University of Texas at Austin) and Luke Sweatlock (Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems) for their proposal, “Pushing the Limits of Thermal Management and Radio-Communications Using Time-Modulated Metasurfaces.” The pair will investigate properties of suitably designed metamaterials that could advance energy harvesting and thermal management systems for the aerospace industry as well as compact and efficient radio-frequency communications in space.

“The Grainger Grants give select Frontiers of Engineering participant teams the opportunity to realize their visions for advancing our society,” said NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr. “Their achievements will serve our security, prosperity and quality of life. We are enormously grateful to The Granger Foundation for realizing the importance of these opportunities.”

Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) is an NAE program that brings together outstanding early-career engineers from industry, universities, and government to discuss pioneering technical work and leading-edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors. The goal is to facilitate interactions and exchange of techniques and approaches across fields and facilitate networking among the next generation of engineering leaders. The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants provide seed funding for symposium participants who are at U.S.-based institutions to enable further pursuit of important new interdisciplinary research and projects stimulated by the U.S. FOE symposia.
The Grainger Foundation, an independent, private foundation based in Lake Forest, Ill., was established in 1949 by William W. Grainger, founder of W.W. Grainger Inc.

Founded in 1964, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. The mission of the Academy is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.