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Ohio State to help drive Ohio's new energy economy as state-designated Center of Excellence

The Ohio State University today was named an Ohio Center of Excellence in advanced energy by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. The selection recognizes Ohio State's wide range of research expertise in the areas of climate, energy and the environment and ties the university's work directly to the state's economic development strategies.

In a news conference, Gov. Strickland designated nine Ohio Centers of Excellence in advanced energy. Each of the Centers will focus their academic and research activities within advanced energy to undertake world-class research that ultimately drive the competitiveness of Ohio's economy. Each will also help the state meet the requirements of Senate Bill 221, a landmark energy reform bill, enacted last year.

Caroline Whitacre, vice president for research at Ohio State, says the award recognizes the university's unique capacity to assemble comprehensive teams that can focus on critical problems such as global warming, carbon sequestration and a range of sustainable new energy and transportation technologies.

"Ohio State has the people and programs in place to help take energy research in Ohio to the next level," Whitacre said. "More than 300 Ohio State researchers are focused on some aspect of climate, energy, and the environment. We already partner with many businesses and nonprofits, entities that have helped make Ohio a top-five producer of clean energy jobs. This recognition will help strengthen those partnerships and attract the best researchers, faculty and students who are committed to this important field."

Whitacre says the Centers of Excellence take the existing synergies and opportunities for collaboration in the energy area among Ohio universities already established by the University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio to a new level.

"In a time of scarce resources, we think it's important to leverage the strengths of all the state's public institutions in addressing Ohio's future. There are a lot of potential connections between us that will benefit not only Ohio State, but also the other universities and ultimately, the citizens of Ohio – by educating the best students and in facilitating cutting-edge research and development that will serve as an economic driver for the state's future."

Creating Centers of Excellence at Ohio's public universities is part of the University System of Ohio's Strategic Plan for Higher Education, 2008-2017. The idea draws upon the distinctive research strengths of each institution to make Ohio competitive in the country and in the world. It is a way of organizing research excellence across the state to solve problems, create new technologies and propel promising state industries.

In response to the request, Ohio State created five Centers of Excellence which draw
faculty and researchers from across the institution to contribute in the most immediate ways to the economic health of our state and to its position in a global economy: Climate, Energy and the Environment; Health and Well-Being, Human Behavior and Bioinformatics; State, Regional and Urban Development; Food Production, Supply and Safety; and Materials, Manufacturing Technologies and Nanotechnologies.

Advanced energy represents the first round of announcements of Centers of Excellence that align with the state's targeted industries and keep talent in Ohio. The additional university Centers for advanced energy are located at: Bowling Green State University; Case Western Reserve University; Central State University; University of Cincinnati; University of Dayton; The Ohio State University; Ohio University; and The University of Toledo.

Ohio State dedicates more than 300 researchers to the nation's quest for environmentally sustainable energy solutions that promote economic growth in Ohio and safeguard our planet. Comprehensive teams at Ohio State build on extensive expertise to sequester carbon, refine carbon-trading, generate cleaner, less expensive and renewable power and protect natural resources. They track the effect of climate change on water resources from retreating glaciers to rising sea levels and water tables across the globe. And, they partner with advanced materials experts to make solar energy collection even more commercially viable.