Louise Berben, UC Davis professor of chemistry
Louise Berben, professor of chemistry

Chemistry Professor’s Team Wins Share of $20M in UC’s National Lab Funding

Chemistry professor Louise Berben is the lead principal investigator for one of five University of California research projects recently awarded nearly $19 million in grants by the UC National Laboratory Fees Research Program.

As announced Jan. 18 by the UC Office of the President, the research program distributed $20 million in all, including two-year in-residence fellowships to seven doctoral students, three of them from UC Davis, for research at the Livermore and Los Alamos national labs.

The program is funded by a portion of the fees that UC receives for managing the Livermore and Los Alamos labs on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy. Each systemwide project involves multiple campuses and at least one UC-affiliated national lab.

The Berben team received its grant for “Direct Production of Renewable Fuels and Chemicals From Captured CO2,” an effort to develop new ways to divert carbon dioxide from waste streams and convert it into clean, renewable fuels and other useful products. Collaborating with UC Davis are the Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside and Santa Barbara campuses, and the Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore labs.

“The project spans chemistry, chemical engineering and prototype-scale manufacturing with significant opportunities for interdisciplinary training of graduate and undergraduate students,” Berben said.

Funding source

With this allocation, the UC National Laboratory Fees Research Program has now distributed more than $190 million in competitive peer-reviewed grants since it began in 2008. The program fosters collaboration among the campuses and labs while addressing different strategic areas of research.

For the 2022 funding cycle, the program identified its strategic priorities as clean, renewable energy and decarbonization; frontiers of mesoscale materials and high energy density science; and pandemic preparedness and biosecurity. More than half the funds went to projects like Berben’s that can help California meet its climate goals.

 UC Davis Dateline

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