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Virtual goes reality for Microproducts Breakthrough Institute

February 01, 2005 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – What has been a virtual institute between Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Oregon State University College of Engineering in essence will go "live" today as Dennis Stiles becomes the PNNL program manager for the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute at the Corvallis, Ore. facility.

Stiles, who will be the first of up to 20 PNNL staff at the Corvallis headquarters of the institute, will be responsible for new business development. He also will become the group leader for PNNL staff in Corvallis as the institute grows.

Additionally, Stiles is slated to become one of the co-directors of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute or "ONAMI." ONAMI is focused on researching and commercializing nanoscience and microtechnologies to foster the creation of new products, companies and jobs in the Pacific Northwest. It unites Oregon State University (Corvallis), Portland State University and the University of Oregon (Eugene), with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, Wash.), the state of Oregon and private industry.

"It’s the right time to put a leader on the ground at OSU," said Rod K. Quinn, PNNL associate laboratory director for the Environmental Technology Directorate. "MBI is growing, as is our relationship with Oregon State University, and we need to have people in place to assure continued success." Stiles will be the primary liaison between Quinn and OSU in developing further collaborations, staff exchanges and student internships, serving to maximize benefit to both OSU and PNNL.

"We are delighted that PNNL is moving ahead with plans to bring its staff members to Corvallis," said Kevin Drost, a professor of mechanical engineering at OSU and co-director of the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute. Drost said OSU also is planning to employ up to 20 OSU staff at the institute.

The MBI has steadily grown since its inception in 2002. Landis Kannberg, the PNNL codirector of the MBI, noted, "In the last year alone nearly $20 million worth of collaborative research and development projects have been awarded (quadrupling the previous year), and decisions are pending on additional projects." Collaboration on technology research and development is expected to expand even further as staff from PNNL and OSU are colocated and distance barriers are reduced. Additionally, linkages between OSU, PNNL and Oregon industries should be easier to establish and maintain through the jointly-staffed MBI, whose mission is to accelerate the discovery and commercialization of micro chemical, biological and physical systems.

Before his new assignment, Stiles managed the successful PNNL Biobased Products Initiative, which is a laboratory-level strategic business program to convert renewable biomass to chemical products. Stiles holds a master's degree in engineering management from Washington State University and a bachelor's degree in industrial and management engineering from Montana State University – Bozeman.

Oregon State University and the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory formed the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute (http://www.pnl.gov/microproducts/) as a research and educational center in 2002 to develop and help market advances in the emerging and highly promising field of microtechnology. The institute is spawning a new and important industry in the Pacific Northwest based on small, lightweight, and more efficient chemical, energy and biological systems, for both commercial and non-commercial use.

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Oregon State University – Home to the nation's 22nd largest undergraduate engineering program, OSU is one of only two universities in the country designated a Land Grant, Sea Grant, Space Grant and Sun Grant institution and is one of only four universities in the Northwest to have the prestigious Carnegie Doctoral/Research-Extensive ranking from the Carnegie Foundation. With more than $150 million in annual funded research, OSU ranks among an elite group of research universities nationally.

Tags: Energy, Fundamental Science, Biomass, Nanoscience

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of more than $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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