The Robert A. Welch Foundation recently awarded $285,000 to The University of Texas-Pan American for two separate research projects.
The UTPA Department of Chemistry will receive $135,000 total during the next three years for research and laboratory equipment. Dr. Narayan G. Bhat, chemistry professor, was awarded a $150,000 faculty grant for research in organic/organometallic chemistry.
Dr. Hassan Ahmad, chemistry associate professor and writer for the departmental grant, said the department intends to use a major portion of the funds for undergraduate research. The grant also will help faculty members utilize student support in research to generate their own funding through the Welch Foundation.
"The chemistry department hopes that the Welch grant will help attract strong students in undergraduate chemistry programs," Ahmad said. "The research done with the help of the grant will also be critical in keeping our undergraduate program accredited by the American Chemical Society."
Bhat already has started his research in organic/organometallic chemistry and has four students working in his research laboratory.
"The funding from the Welch Foundation is extremely useful in introducing minority undergraduate students to modern organic chemistry research," Bhat said. "They will be trained in handling air-sensitive compounds, and they will also learn the art and the logic of chemical synthesis."
The Welch Foundation, based in Houston, is one of the nation's oldest and largest private funding sources for basic research. The general policy of the Foundation is to support fundamental chemical research at educational institutions in Texas through search grants, departmental programs, visiting lectureships, teacher training and special projects.
The Foundation also hosts an annual chemical conference and sponsors the Welch Award in Chemistry.