The University of Connecticut is adding six new faculty to expand its research and development of sustainable energy sources.
The salaries for the new faculty come out of the state's Eminent Faculty fund. The fund was set up by a new law two years ago, and includes $4 million dollars of state funding and $2 million from private energy companies.
Senator Joan Hartley co-chairs the General Assembly's Higher Education Committee. She says adding the new researchers will set up the state to leverage more federal research dollars and grow new energy businesses.
"We were told we needed some rock stars. These are the rock stars to add and complement the incredible talent we already have at the University of Connecticut."
Among the new faculty are Prabhakar Singh, who will direct UConn's Global Fuel Cell Center. He holds more than 50 patents, and comes to Connecticut from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he develops fuel cells for the federal Department of Energy. The five other new researchers bring expertise in real-world applications including solar cells, biofuels, and carbon capture technology.
Keeping the faculty at UConn will require the state to continue adding $2 million dollars to the fund.
Senate President Don Williams says he hopes this kind of economic development spending continues, even in the tough budget times, to help Connecticut emerge from the recession.