The goal of the Partnership for Education and Research in Materials (PREM) between Jackson State University (JSU) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is to establish a permanent and collaborative research environment and educational structure in the area of materials science. A well-defined target is to increase recruitment, retention and degree attainment of JSU students-especially in doctoral degree programs. This PREM proposal will build upon an existing and growing relationship between JSU and the UCSB. One of the most exciting and outstanding features of the PREM is the development of a truly synergistic relationship between Jackson State and UCSB. As a result, the impact of the PREM on the MRL at UCSB and the greater UCSB campus will be as great as the PREM's impact on the developing area of materials research at JSU. The PREM will allow JSU to become a leader in materials research, while at the same time establishing strong educational ties between JSU and UCSB. In terms of human resources, the PREM program will provide an opportunity for the Materials Research Laboratory at UCSB to engage with some of the best minority students in the country and through exposure to the research and teaching environment at UCSB, inspire the students to doctoral degrees in Materials with the majority of them selecting UCSB for their studies. The materials research objective will focus on the development and application of new materials. Specifically, they will focus on three research subprojects that are characterized by cutting-edge world-class research and a highly collaborative research environment between JSU and UCSB. The mission of this proposal is to develop 1) organic semiconductors based on small molecules or conjugated polymers which are extremely promising materials for many types of applications, ranging from electronic circuitry to flexible displays, and from solar cells to biological and chemical sensors, 2) optical nanosystem using LIF technique at the nano-bio interface to detect DNA damage, RNA interaction and modification of nucleic acid bases. The proposed research is of fundamental scientific interest as well as a crucial component in the development of state-of-the-art devices and sensors.

Critical to the success of this PREM will be the establishment of infrastructure for the education, training and mentoring of minority students and postdoctoral fellows through formal course, workshops and laboratory rotations. The spectrum of activities planned in this collaborative proposal include development of a Two-year Masters program at JSU which a strong focus in Materials that effortlessly bridges to the established collaborations to UCSB doctoral programs in Materials. Establishment of a collaborative undergraduate Materials Science Interns program as well as active and hands-on undergraduate and graduate courses to prepare minority students for future generation scientist will also be a major focus. This PREM proposal will also play an important role in the larger framework of the JSU College of Science, Engineering, and Technology by attracting students from School of Engineering and other departments and by promoting inter-departmental collaboration between faculty members.

Project Report

JSU-PREM and its partnership with the UCSB MRSEC will provide the resources necessary to train students and establish faculty collaborations in three thrust areas: (1) Engineered Self-Assembly of Conjugated Polymer and Oligomer Based Optical and Electronic Systems; (2) Theoretical Studies on the Conductance and Electro-Optic Properties of the Optoelectronic Materials; (3) Nanostructured Materials as Interfaces to Biology. The PREM helps JSU to improve its materials research capability significantly due to strong ties between JSU and UCSB. The PREM also significantly impacts the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at UCSB and the greater UCSB campus. The 5-year program supported a total of 8 research associates, 10 PhD students, 12 MS students, 11 undergraduate students and 38 K12 senior students and 6 K12 teacher participants. Among the 80 PREM participants, 84% were African Americans and 70% were females. These numbers reflect our program emphasis on training underrepresented minorities. Of the 80 PREM participants, 68 graduated from our program. The intellectual achievements during this funding period include a range of significant discoveries. During this 5 year funded period, we have published 79 papers in high impact journals (Chemical Reviews, Chem. Soc. Rev., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., ACS Nano, J. Am. Chem. Soc., Small, Chem. Eur. J., Chem. Comm., J. Phys. Chem. and others). Among the 81 papers we published, PREM faculty members published 22 collaborative papers (PREM faculty member’s names have been marked). More than 90% of the published papers are with graduate and undergraduate students and 8 papers are published with high school participants. The latter is a truly remarkable achievement serving to inspire these students to STEM undergraduate degrees with a 100% success rate. The broader impact of this funding period lies in developing the required infrastructure for JSU modeled on the successful strategies employed at UCSB to conduct cutting-edge materials research and education programs while at the same time developing state-of-the-art facilities with a specific focus on involving undergraduate and graduate African American students and women. Faculty members at JSU have also been encouraged to participate in the materials related research and work with UCSB colleagues allowing access to recent advances in the materials research area. Success of this PREM is due to the establishment of a robust infrastructure for the education, training and mentoring of minority students and postdoctoral fellows through formal course, PREM summer school, PREM lecture series, PREM conference and laboratory rotations between JSU and UCSB. In addition, equipments for materials research have been purchased and research personnel were hired and trained for materials research, which is critical for the establishment of a dynamic infrastructure. Through innovative degree programs and lecture courses, our PREM allows the development of JSU as a center of excellence in advanced nanomaterial and polymer material research while significantly impacting the diversity, educational and outreach activities at UCSB. Our MS/PhD joint bridging degree program is central to education and training graduate and undergraduate students from underrepresented groups through exposure to UCSB faculty through lectures, research visits, and use of the state-of-the-art facilities at UCSB’s MRL. Finally, the PREM program is playing an important role in the larger framework of the JSU’s research enterprise by promoting inter-departmental collaborations among faculty members. PREM education staff and researchers at both JSU and UCSB are dedicated to improving access to science for diverse groups and to building a competent work force of scientists and engineers.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
Application #
Program Officer
Sean Liam Jones
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Jackson State University
United States
Zip Code