UWM Research Foundation: Announces latest Rockwell Catalyst Grants

Issued by: Laura L. Hunt, 414-229-6447; [email protected]

MILWAUKEE – The Research Foundation at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (UWM) has announced three new Catalyst Grants in advanced automation sponsored by the Rockwell Automation Charitable Corporation. The grants total $170,000.

This is the second round of grants in a five-year program supported by Rockwell. The long-term objective of the program is to build research capabilities in the area of advanced automation and strengthen corporate partnerships with regional companies. Grants support research in three areas important to advanced automation: software & informatics, sensors & devices, and materials.


* Software & Informatics: Mukul Goyal, assistant professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


“Enhancing Reliability in IEEE 802.15.4 Wireless Sensor Networks.” Wireless networks, particularly those used in industrial settings, are becoming more complex. In order for these networks to function effectively for control applications, data must arrive on time and uncorrupted. Goyal’s work will help improve the reliability of these networks by studying the impacts of competing networks and the relaying of packets of data among multiple intermediate devices.


* Sensors & Devices: Arash Mafi, assistant professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


“Design of a High-Sensitivity Fiber Optic Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensor.” Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPM) sensors are compact, low-cost sensing technology that can be used in a variety of environmental and biological applications. Mafi proposes a new approach to creating these sensors using fiber optics that can offer greater sensitivity along with remote sensing advantages.


* Materials: Pradeep Rohatgi, Wisconsin Distinguished Professor and UWM Distinguished Professor, Materials Engineering


“Self-Healing Solders for the Automation Industry.” Solder connections are a critical element in the reliability and life of integrated circuits and electronic packaging. Rohatgi proposes a new approach to designing the microstructure of these alloys so that a crack or imperfection can “self-heal” before it leads to failure.

The UWM Research Foundation Catalyst Grant program has made $840,000 in awards so far thanks to support from both the Rockwell Automation Charitable Corporation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. The Research Foundation anticipates awarding up to $500,000 more this summer.

“I continue to be impressed by the quality of the applications that we are receiving,” says Brian Thompson, president of the UWM Research Foundation. “The support from both Rockwell and Bradley is having a positive impact not only on the basic science at UWM, but also on our ability to move these innovations into the marketplace.”

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(CONTACT: Brian Thompson, 414-229-3397, [email protected].)