II-VI Foundation to sponsor inaugural Cooperative Research Initiative with Auburn

ii_ivThe II-VI Foundation will sponsor a three-year, up to $1,000,000 Block Gift Cooperative Research Initiative between Auburn University, Rutgers University and Purdue University. The three institutions will submit a joint proposal each year and the available funding will be appropriately applied to the research efforts being performed by the respective groups. Known for funding individual institutional efforts, this is the first time the II-VI Foundation has designated a gift for a Cooperative Research Initiative.

The project is titled, ""SiO2/4H-SiC Interface - Optimization for Next Generation Power MOSFETs," and will support research efforts in the realm of advanced power electronics development, and specifically, oxide semiconductor interface passivation studies for silicon carbide devices. John Williams, professor emeritus of physics, is the coordinator of the multi-university Cooperative Research Initiative, and Sarit Dhar, assistant professor of physics, is the primary investigator. Claude Ahyi, assistant research professor of physics, along with physics graduate students Aaron Modic and Chunku Jiao, will also represent Auburn in the project.

In recognition of the inaugural gift, Carl Johnson, II-VI Incorporated chairman and co-founder of the II-VI Foundation with his wife, Margot, visited campus on May 7 to present the funding agreement. During the signing ceremony, Johnson gave a presentation where he discussed II-VI Foundation expectations for the students involved in the Cooperative Research Initiative.

"We expect student participation and learning; we want the students to carry a lot of the load. We expect excellence in design and execution of the research program; you have to start with a good plan, review your progress, and revise the plan, if necessary. We expect effective dissemination of results; we would like for the students to get practice writing and speaking, to publish timely notes, and to publish and present high-quality papers," continued Johnson. "We expect high academic performance; we want you to achieve your personal best, to work hard, to work long hours, and to do whatever it takes to achieve your research goals. We want you to strive for excellence. Finally, we expect the students to prepare for their respective professional careers and to demonstrate social responsibility."

The mission of the II-VI Foundation is to encourage and enable students to pursue a career in engineering, science and mathematics while maintaining a standard of excellence in that pursuit. In addition to the Collaborative Research Initiative and individual institution Block-Gift projects, the foundation provides funding for early education initiatives, undergraduate scholarships and undergraduate research programs.

"The Block Gift Cooperative Research Initiative is different than anything we have ever done before," said Johnson. "We recognized that the work being done at Auburn, Rutgers and Purdue provides three different viewpoints on the same tough problem, and we have a coordinator in John Williams who really understands the strengths and dynamics of each contributing program.  In the past we would have had to fund and administer these programs separately, but with John as the coordinator, we were able to combine efforts for the first time."

For more information on the Cooperative Research Initiative, click here.

Last updated: 05/09/2013