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Our Commitment to Research Creates Opportunities for All

At the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma, aerospace engineer John Schmisseur is developing materials that may one day help the Air Force travel at speeds five times faster than sound.

In Antarctica, microbiologist Jill Mikucki is studying microorganisms to help NASA better understand the potential for life on Mars.

And here in East Tennessee, math education professor Lynn Hodge is advancing STEM education in Appalachia to nurture curiosity and help teachers shape our next generation of leaders.

These projects, and more than a thousand others, were part of a record year for research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. We reported $260 million in expenditures for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018. That’s money from grants, contracts, and other external resources spent on finding the answers to some of our society’s most pressing questions.

Growing our research profile means creating opportunities for our university and for the people of Tennessee and beyond.

It means attracting top graduate students through the creation of more assistantships, so they can work beside and learn from our expert faculty.

It means providing undergraduate students with opportunities to develop critical thinking skills through real-world experiences that will help them succeed in their careers.

It means making meaningful contributions in the communities we partner with.

In Blount County, we work with the public libraries on a Small Business Community Information Exchange to help entrepreneurs flourish. In Knox County, our university-assisted community schools program improves education for students by supporting their needs both in and out of the classroom.

In towns across Tennessee, citizens benefit from UT’s van program, which helps nonprofit organizations purchase personal mobility vehicles, and students benefit from our Biology in a Box outreach program, which brings hands-on projects to the classroom.

As we have expanded our research efforts, we have established UT as the go-to institution for experts in such fields as forensic anthropology, nuclear engineering, supply chain, computing, and advanced materials.

Major corporations in Tennessee like Fed Ex, Mars Incorporated, Volkswagen, and Eastman Chemical have come to us to help them develop new technologies and solve industry problems.

Federal agencies including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation support our large multidisciplinary centers, which are working to solve complex problems such as combating mosquito-borne illnesses and improving the nation’s power grid.

State and local government agencies rely on the talent and knowledge housed here at UT for new technologies like a better way to treat roads for winter weather, and for training that includes courses for law enforcement offered through the Body Farm and development for promising teachers who want to become principals provided through the Leadership Academy.

When the US Navy was looking for help developing alloys last April, they asked Suresh Babu, UT­–Oak Ridge National Lab Governor’s Chair for Advanced Manufacturing.

When researchers last year finally perfected the first-ever 6D measurement of an accelerator beam—an achievement that had eluded scientists for decades—it was a UT–ORNL physics professor, Sarah Cousineau, who led the effort.

And in the future, when diabetes patients are able to monitor their blood sugar without pricking their finger multiple times a day, it will likely be because of sensors developed by engineering professor Nicole McFarlane.

As a top-tier research institution, we are devoted to advancing science, exploring new frontiers, and better understanding the world around us.

As the state’s flagship land grant university, we are committed to making the future better for all Tennesseans.