Public Affairs

Aligning Research and Teaching, Young Faculty
Get Big CAREER Boosts

NSF Awards Foster Future Leaders Among CSU Trailblazers in Science

Media Contact

Sean Kearns (707) 826-4250 or Michael Uhlenkamp
(562) 951-4800

Related Links and Information
Bookmark and Share

(September 2, 2010) – Four new awards this summer make for a full dozen California State University professors – trailblazers in mathematics, biology, geology, chemistry, engineering, computing and other realms – who have received the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant since January 2009.

Through its CAREER program, NSF supports junior faculty members who "exemplify the role of teacher-scholars" through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of the two. Intended to "build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership," each grant provides at least $400,000 over a five-year period.

Anchored throughout the CSU, the projects address challenges such as these:

  • Developing ultra-thin materials layered into organic solar-energy cells
  • Getting clearer, closer images of the sun
  • Designing innovative antennas and memory-storage devices
  • Determining if erosion patterns in the Himalayas offer clues to  climate change
  • Using mathematics to enhance shapes and textures in computer-rendered images
  • Pushing centuries-old algebra concepts into new dimensions in ways that can help code-makers and -breakers

In addition to the 12 CSU CAREER recipients awarded since 2009, 11 others are continuing work on previously funded active CAREER grants. Combined, they represent seven CSU campuses (Bakersfield, Channel Islands, Long Beach, Northridge, San Diego, San Francisco and San José). The 23 active awards total roughly $10 million in NSF funding.

Each project involves university students in the research, and many also involve
K-12 students. (For a roster, click here)

NSF Director Arden Bement told Congress that the CAREER program, "develops the future scientific and technical workforce through support of young faculty who are dedicated to integrating the excitement of research with inspired teaching and enthusiastic learning.

"Our experience with previous CAREER awardees has proven that these faculty become the research leaders of their respective fields," Bement continued, "and this program is vital to fostering the success of emerging science and technology leaders."

According to Ephraim P. Smith, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the CSU, "These awards illustrate the high caliber of young faculty coming into the CSU. Moreover, while probing important scientific questions, they offer many CSU students, both undergraduate and graduate, opportunities to experience the rigor – and reap the rewards – of participating in research. When it comes to learning, little compares to the value of performing complex techniques and subjecting one’s hypotheses, results and conclusions to critical analysis."

Since NSF established the program in 1995, 44 faculty members at 13 CSU campuses have received Faculty Early Career Development awards.

# # #

About California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 433,000 students year round and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. A recent economic report found that the CSU supports more than 150,000 jobs statewide, annually. The engine driving job creation is more than $17 billion in economic activity that directly results from CSU-related spending that generates $5.43 for every dollar the state invests. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.

Connect with and learn more about CSU at CSU Social Media.