South Dakota Tech News
501 E. Saint Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701-3995
Phone: (605) 394-6082/2554 • Fax: (605) 394-6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2004
Contact: Steve Buchholz, Public Information Manager, 394-6082
South Dakota Tech Hires Vice President For Research
South Dakota Tech has hired a Vice President for Research in a move to continue to build on the university’s commitment to create research programs that generate new knowledge and technology-based economic benefits for the state and the nation.
Dr. Gautam Pillay began his duties on Sept. 15. This is a new position at Tech. Some of the duties were performed by Dr. Sherry Farwell, former Dean of Graduate Education and Research, who has been named director of the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR program.
Pillay earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from New Mexico State University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University. He has a substantial record as a researcher and administrator in academia and at Department of Energy national laboratories.
Since 2001, Pillay has served as the executive director of the Inland Northwest Research Alliance, Inc., a non-profit scientific and educational organization of eight research universities, and as a research professor at Idaho State University. At the research alliance, Pillay was responsible for developing new collaborative research and educational opportunities for the member universities, developing and implementing strategic plans, developing business opportunities, monitoring contract and fiscal performance, conducting federal relations activities with Congressional delegations from five states, and managing human resources.
Between 1997 and 2001, Pillay served as a senior manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Prior to Los Alamos, he served at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Environmental Technology Division for more than four years as a senior research engineer.
“Dr. Pillay possesses a significant record of accomplishment, evident by his many honors and awards, his membership in various professional organizations, and his numerous professional publications,” Tech President Dr. Charles Ruch said. “One of Tech’s strategies in the near future is to focus our research efforts in areas where we have, or can build, expertise. That will make us more competitive for research funding, and help us achieve our economic development goals. Dr. Pillay has the experience and skills to help us reach the lofty goals and expectations we’ve set for ourselves.”
In his new position, Pillay will provide administrative oversight, leadership and mentorship in the development and implementation of campus-wide research and graduate studies that are integrally linked to the university’s mission. He joins a university that already boasts a solid research program. In the 2003 fiscal year, South Dakota Tech researchers received more than $12 million in sponsored research funding. Since 2001, South Dakota Tech has received more than $55 million in Congressional appropriations for research and development, including $15.2 million in the 2005 Defense spending bill. Defense-related projects include research to make our military more efficient while better protecting our troops in the field.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to work at Tech with its accomplished researchers, students and administrators,” Pillay said. “Tech’s faculty and graduates have impressive records of accomplishments, and I look forward to assisting them in developing new research and educational programs and furthering the strong, ongoing projects. My wife and I are also very pleased to be able to live in Rapid City and enjoy the Black Hills.”
Tech is home to several research institutions and centers, and plans are underway to both expand the number of graduate degrees and to enhance the technology-transfer process.
One of those institutes is the Center for Accelerated Applications at the Nanoscale (CAAN). Tech has received $585,000 from the state of South Dakota to create CAAN, where work will focus on nanotechnology research in the areas of nanoparticles and associated nanosensors, with particular emphasis on South Dakota mineral development. Nanotechnology is an umbrella term that covers many areas of research dealing with objects measured in nanometers. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, or a millionth of a millimeter. A human hair’s diameter measures about 200,000 nanometers.
Other new research initiatives include:
The creation of the Institute for Multi-Scale Materials (IMM). The institute will coordinate and enhance materials science research activities currently under way. Much of the institute’s work will be defense-related, and could result in the materials we need for the next generation of products, industries and systems that will better protect our nation and its soldiers.
The construction of the Computational Mechanics Laboratory addition to the Civil/Mechanical Engineering Building. The laboratory will provide much needed space for a variety of high-end computing activities. The project will include additional laboratories, classrooms, office space and meeting rooms. The laboratory will provide Tech students access to the computational mechanics hardware and software currently used by industry, and will benefit faculty and researchers involved in externally-funded projects.
The addition of Maskless Mesoscale Materials Deposition (M3D) technology to Tech’s materials research arsenal. The technology will allow researchers to place electronics on materials that are 25 microns, or one-thousandth of an inch, wide. The process is related to the laser additive deposition capability found in Tech’s Advanced Materials Processing Center. The capabilities of the M3D equipment will improve the end results of projects such as the advanced antenna research for national defense uses.
“Dr. Pillay will play a major leadership role in guiding these and all of Tech’s research initiatives to help us achieve our institutional priorities,” Ruch said. “We are excited about Dr. Pillay joining our team because we know how talented he is.”
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.