CIRE2N seeks to educate in nanotechnology and nanosciences by leveraging existing research facilities and local resources- a polluted urban marsh located at Las Cucharillas, a coastal wetland reserve in Cataño, Puerto Rico, managed by the Corredor del Yaguazo Inc., a community-based NGO (non-governmental organization), that has a cooperative agreement with UPR-Rio Piedras, and Puma Energy. This will facilitate the development of nanotechnology and knowledge transfer through training to students and faculty in S&T entrepreneurship and commercialization to support financial sustainability, public education and outreach.
The overarching philosophy in CIRE2N is based upon the fundamental understanding that research and education is a vehicle to achieve self-sustainability and to develop the future Hispanic STEM workforce. Intellectual Merits: CIRE2N will engage in the following interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs): IRG 1: Nanomaterials for Water and Soil Remediation. This IRG will steer efforts in providing innovative approaches, research and education in the development of nanomaterials for water purification and soil remediation, and resource recovery. In particular, reactive membranes for water purification, heavy metal remediation, and microbial reactors will be developed. IRG 2: Sensors for Environmental Monitoring, which will develop nanomaterials that enable new, robust and stable devices for physical and chemical sensing of contaminants of environmental concern. The main goal is to develop devices that remain operational under environmental conditions with minimal power consumption. IRG 3: Nanomaterials for Energy Conversion, which will be working on energy storage and conversion, with special interest in the development of advanced materials for the recovery of energy from small molecules that are typically encountered in the environment such as: ammonia and urea.
These IRGs will benefit from Las Cucharillas Marsh and its network with public schools in Cataño. This interaction will allow for the different partners in the Center to test the proposed nanotechnologies under relevant environmental and harsh conditions.
CIRE2N will support the professional development and training of undergraduate and graduate students, K-12 teachers, and faculty members in their respective research areas.