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NIU gets $1.5m grant
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uiniu57 Offline
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NIU gets $1.5m grant
NIU microelectronic lab awarded $1.5M in federal funding; Congresswoman Underwood tours facility

DeKALB – U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood on Friday toured Northern Illinois University’s Microelectronic Research and Development Lab, which is the recipient of a $1.5 million grant meant to modernize the space.
Underwood, D-Naperville, was in DeKalb on Friday to view the lab after she helped procure the funding, which was secured through the Department of Education’s Community Project Funding Grant Program.
According to a document provided by university officials, the funding will help turn NIU’s 4,200-square-foot cleanroom lab space into a fabrication lab dedicated to design, workforce development, small-business innovation, and prototyping and research of microchips.
Speaking to a crowd gathered outside the lab on NIU’s campus, Underwood praised the university’s faculty for creating a space that prepares students to enter the workforce of an industry the country is trying to put its weight behind.
Underwood said the students who have an opportunity to work in the lab will “have a leg up” when it comes to working with the associated technology in their careers.
“And, obviously, as we know, we’ve had some real shortages in computer chips and semiconductors – global shortages,” Underwood said. “And so now for our community here in northern Illinois to be leaders in the development of the actual products, but also innovating for the next product, is tremendous, and I think it will really spur growth in this region to have this kind of lab available for the community."
Semiconductor and microchips have become a national security concern, as well as an inflationary concern, for the past couple of years due to a global shortage of the products.
The products are used for technology all the way from computers and automobiles to appliances and some of the military’s most advanced weapons and defense systems,
To address that issue, President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law in the fall. That act of Congress will provide $52.7 billion worth of funding for American semiconductor research and workforce development.
Although the $1.5 million in funding doesn’t come from the CHIPS and Science Act, the effort by Underwood to get NIU the funding is tied to a national push to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign sources of computer chips.
Mohammed Moghimi, an assistant professor in NIU’s Department of Electrical Engineering, said the funding also will help the department modernize the lab.
“We already have equipment, [but] it was time to renew the lab and make a new front in the research, so this funding will enable us to buy new equipment,” Moghimi said.
With the new equipment, Moghimi said the university will be able to offer more classes that use the lab while focusing on new innovative technologies.
Among those already using the lab is Courtney Bradley, a graduate student wrapping up her master’s program, who hopes to become one of the first students to enroll in the university’s new Ph.D. program affiliated with the Microelectronic Research and Development Lab.
For her master’s program, Bradley said she’s characterizing actuators for use in a flexible, noninvasive hearing aid device for young children. Bradley said the lab has deposition and lithography tools that allow her to fabricate the new device on NIU’s campus.
Bradley said she’s very passionate about using her electrical engineering skill set to give disadvantaged infants and young children better tools to understand their surroundings, but she didn’t expect to work on a project with such impact while still in school.
Bradley said “it was amazing” to have Underwood tour the lab she works in.
"It really made it feel like it's important and we’re making a difference when you have Congress recognizing that,” Bradley said. “It makes us feel like our research is even more worthwhile.”
Donald Peterson, the dean of NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, said Friday was “a tremendous opportunity” to host Underwood, who he called a great partner of the university.
Peterson said Friday marked the second time Underwood had toured the lab, after she visited once before when the university reached out to her office to request aid in procuring funding for its work.
“We see this as playing a key role, especially in the Midwest, not only of research and development of this technologies but also for development of the workforce,” Peterson said. “So that the students, whether they be undergraduate or graduate students, they’re going to be able to hit the ground running – they’ll be shovel-ready – when they go out to work with these companies.”
Underwood said recent redistricting has brought NIU and the city of DeKalb into Illinois’ 14th Congressional District, which means she now has the opportunity to work with the largest educational entity in DeKalb County.
“I hope to be able to work with the students and the folks that live in the city of DeKalb, and throughout the county, to meet their needs as well,” Underwood said.
01-21-2023 04:49 PM
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klake87 Offline
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RE: NIU gets $1.5m grant
Big deal, politicians spending other peoples money.
01-23-2023 12:01 AM
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chihuskie Offline
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RE: NIU gets $1.5m grant
Excellent! Nice job Rep. Underwood!
Congrats NIU and the present and future students that will benefit from this!
01-23-2023 10:15 AM
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niu1980 Offline
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RE: NIU gets $1.5m grant
(01-23-2023 12:01 AM)klake87 Wrote:  Big deal, politicians spending other peoples money.

Yes we should give the money back. We should always tear down anything that might be good. WTF?!
01-24-2023 03:52 PM
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klake87 Offline
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RE: NIU gets $1.5m grant
(01-24-2023 03:52 PM)niu1980 Wrote:  
(01-23-2023 12:01 AM)klake87 Wrote:  Big deal, politicians spending other peoples money.

Yes we should give the money back. We should always tear down anything that might be good. WTF?!

Elect me and I will get $3 million of other peoples money. Ut is called project to get reelected. Fyi, if you pay taxes, $246k of the federal deficit is your money.
01-24-2023 08:20 PM
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niu1980 Offline
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RE: NIU gets $1.5m grant
(01-24-2023 08:20 PM)klake87 Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 03:52 PM)niu1980 Wrote:  
(01-23-2023 12:01 AM)klake87 Wrote:  Big deal, politicians spending other peoples money.

Yes we should give the money back. We should always tear down anything that might be good. WTF?!

Elect me and I will get $3 million of other peoples money. Ut is called project to get reelected. Fyi, if you pay taxes, $246k of the federal deficit is your money.

Taxes for education, it’s practically criminal. I just don’t get people like you.
01-24-2023 11:38 PM
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Big_Man Offline
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RE: NIU gets $1.5m grant
(01-24-2023 08:20 PM)klake87 Wrote:  
(01-24-2023 03:52 PM)niu1980 Wrote:  
(01-23-2023 12:01 AM)klake87 Wrote:  Big deal, politicians spending other peoples money.

Yes we should give the money back. We should always tear down anything that might be good. WTF?!

Elect me and I will get $3 million of other peoples money. Ut is called project to get reelected. Fyi, if you pay taxes, $246k of the federal deficit is your money.

Public University receives funding to research technology that could benefit society. It’s not like they are building a Harry Potter lab or something dumb. It also has nothing to do with the national debt, which only concerns certain people when it’s convenient to them.

It must be hard for you to watch any college football game when public universities are playing.
01-25-2023 08:34 AM
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