Politics & Government

Stronger cars, lighter planes? USC, other SC schools dream big with $20 million grant

USC Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti discusses the $20 million National Science Foundation grant.
USC Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti discusses the $20 million National Science Foundation grant. awilks@thestate.com

Car doors that can pop out their own dents or withstand scratches. Airplanes that can fly lighter and safer. Cartilage and tissue that can repair damaged or aging human bodies.

Those are the possible advances that could stem from a five-year, $20 million National Science Foundation research grant to 10 S.C. colleges, according to the new project’s director.

On learning the state had won the advanced materials grant, University of South Carolina vice president for research Prakash Nagarkatti said he screamed so loud that “my staff thought I won the lottery.”

The grant, which can be extended after five years, will pay for S.C. colleges to research and develop new materials – primarily for industries with S.C. presences, including IBM and Boeing.

Nagarkatti said the grant will benefit both graduate students doing the research and undergraduates, including USC engineering students, who can take new advanced materials courses.

The schools involved in the grant are USC, Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston, Furman University, USC Beaufort, Winthrop University, S.C. State University, Claflin University and Florence-Darlington Technical College.

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks

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