U.Va. Engineering Professor Receives First-Ever Robert A. Moore Jr. Award in Chemical Engineering

Oct. 12, 2007 — Matt Neurock, Alice M. and Guy A. Wilson Professor of Chemical Engineering, has been named the first recipient of the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Robert A. Moore Jr. Award in Chemical Engineering for teaching, research and outreach activities that best represent the interests of industry.

Established by Robert A. (“Bob”) Moore Jr., a 1959 chemical engineering graduate from U.Va., the award is designed to honor a faculty member whose teaching and research “best represents the interest of industry and best prepares students for industrial careers.” Moore, who was the Brent Halsey Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1997, created a $100,000 endowment fund, and winners of the annual award receive a payout from that endowment.

“I highly value my U.Va. education,” said Moore. “It’s important to learn about industry and management as part of a comprehensive engineering education; I established this award to honor faculty members who are integrating an industry perspective into their laboratories and classrooms.”

Neurock plans to use the award to further promote the interactions between his students and industry. The endowment will also help to significantly enhance and further promote the interactions between internships, research projects and curricula design.

“Professor Matt Neurock has developed a stunning array of interactions with industry,” said Robert J. Davis, chairman of the chemical engineering department, who presented the award. “In the last 12 months alone, he has partnered with Shell, Exxon-Mobil, Nanostellar, Lyondell, Johnson Matthey, W. R. Grace, Robinson Brothers, BP and Nanoscale Inc., which accounts for about $370,000 in sponsored research.”

Neurock believes that industrial influences are key to educating tomorrow’s engineers. “I am truly honored to have been chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Robert A. Moore Jr. Award,” he said. “Our department, as well as the School of Engineering and Applied Science, are greatly indebted to Bob for establishing this endowment as we share the commitment of promoting strong industrial ties and educating students for successful industrial careers. We have actively done so over the past few years through a diverse range of activities, including establishing undergraduate and graduate internships, joint research projects and housing industrial visitors, as well as organizing workshops and short courses.”

Neurock is the recipient of the 2005 North American Catalysis Society’s Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis and the 2007 R. H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering, His research is helping to answer critical questions which may shape future industrial directions in the area of energy; he combines theory with large-scale electronic and atomistic simulations to understand catalysis and electrocatalysis, which are at the heart of chemical processing and nearly all future energy initiatives, such as fuel cell technology.

Neurock’s work earned him one of only 13 grants from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences program to support fundamental science projects nationwide that advance hydrogen fuel technology. His three-year grant will support research aimed at understanding electrocatalysis over nanostructured materials. His research also focuses on understanding and designing the properties and performance of a wide range of materials, including metals, bimetallics, metal oxides and zeolites for their use in/as heterogeneous catalysis, corrosion-resistant alloys and magnetic materials for memory device fabrication.

“This award is especially exciting,” says Engineering School Dean James H. Aylor. “To see an alum step forward to make it possible for a member of the faculty to make an impact not only on his students, but also on the world, is a wonderful thing.”

About the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science

Founded in 1836, the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science combines research and educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Within the undergraduate programs, courses in engineering, ethics, mathematics, the sciences and the humanities are available to build a strong foundation for careers in engineering and other professions. Its abundant research opportunities complement the curriculum and educate young men and women to become thoughtful leaders in technology and society. At the graduate level, the Engineering School collaborates with the University’s highly ranked medical and business schools on interdisciplinary research projects and entrepreneurial initiatives. With a distinguished faculty and a student body of 2,200 undergraduates and 700 graduate students, the Engineering School offers an array of engineering disciplines, including cutting-edge research programs in computer and information science and engineering, bioengineering and nanotechnology. For information, visit www.seas.virginia.edu.