Delaware State gets $5 million to expand optics research

The program that’s already made a big impact on research at Delaware State University is about to grow.

The National Science Foundation awarded a $5 million grant to researchers at DSU to help expand the optics program’s research profile.  Currently, DSU’s optics researchers are helping in the study of data from NASA’s Curiosity which landed on Mars earlier this year.

The leader of that Mars research team, and research overall at DSU is Dr. Noureddine Melikechi who serves as vice president of research.  He says it’s a great day of DSU and the region.  “Essentially we are funded to continue the work that we have started and we’re trying to carry on.”

He says it was a tough battle to get the funding and a very competitive process.  “This year there were 38 competing proposals and three were funded.”  

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Delaware State has made a concerted effort in recent years to build the school’s research credentials.  The ultimate goal is to put DSU on par with other nationally recognized universities when it comes to research.  Melikechi says the effort is starting to pay off.  “We have received, since 2006, up to today $23 million in federal funds.”  

That money has helped attract students to DSU’s science programs.  That’s especially true for the physics department, which has seen a three-fold increase in the number of students over the past five years.  “At a time when the number of students in physics at some universities is dropping exponentially, that is not something to ignore.”

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