The UniversityâÄôs Materials Research Science and Engineering Center announced Tuesday that the National Science Foundation renewed their funding by awarding them $16.8 million over the next six years. MRSEC Director Tim Lodge said its proposal was among 14 out of 100 submissions to receive funding. The NSF has been helping fund MRSEC since its inception in 1998. Lodge said MRSECâÄôs good track record, high quality faculty, students and instruments, as well as strong interaction with industry, likely played a role in the NSFâÄôs decision to fund it. Contribution from industry provides an endorsement, of sorts, that MRSEC is doing useful work. The NSF likes to see that its investment pays off, âÄúso when they see that there are 40 companies, paying real money to belong to our consortium, they know that means weâÄôre delivering real value,âÄù Lodge said. NSF funding is essential for MRSECâÄîâÄúthis center would not exist without this grant,âÄù Lodge said. The first thing it means is that stipends for about forty graduate students and post doctorate researchers are paid for. The money will be especially helpful for new areas of research at the center, such as solar energy and collaborative work, he said. âÄúIf you go out and get your own funding, you want to spend it on your own stuff. This can enable people to work together who would not otherwise do it,âÄù he added.