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2016 Featured Story #3: Two P-A faculty members receive 2016 DOE Early Career Research Program Funding

2016 DOE Early Career Research Program awardees Sean Couch and Chris Wrede

MSU Physics and Astronomy Assistant Professors Sean Couch and Chris Wrede are among the 49 scientists nationwide to be selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science to receive significant funding for their research as part of the DOE's 2016 Early Career Research Program. Of these 49 recipients, 27 are from U.S universities and 22 are from DOE's national laboratories.

The Early Career Research Program, now in its seventh year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

Under the program, university-based researchers will receive at least $150,000 per year to cover summer salary and research expenses. The research grants are planned for five years. To be eligible for the DOE award, a researcher must be an untenured, tenure-track assistant or associate professor at a U.S. academic institution or a full-time employee at a DOE national laboratory, who received a Ph.D. within the past 10 years.

In addition to his position in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Sean Couch also has appointments in the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL)/Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. He is a theoretical astrophysicist specializing in the study of the core-collapse supernova mechanism using large-scale numerical simulation. He earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Texas and was a Hubble Fellow at the University of Chicago. The DOE Office of Nuclear Physics selected his research project “The Core‐collapse Supernova Sensitivity Machine.”

Chris Wrede also has an appointment in the NSCL. His primary research interest is in the field of experimental nuclear astrophysics, and he has taught courses in astronomy, electronics and nuclear astrophysics. Prior to joining MSU in 2011, Wrede received a Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 2008 and spent three years as a research associate at the University of Washington’s Center for Experimental Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics. The DOE Office of Nuclear Physics selected his research project “Critical Thermonuclear Reactions in Classical Novae and Type I X‐ray Bursts.”

Awardees were selected from a pool of over 700 applicants based on peer review by outside scientific experts. Projects announced on May 4th are selections for negotiation of financial award. The final details for each project award are subject to final grant and contract negotiations between DOE and the awardees.

For more information, see this article on the College of Natural Science website, the DOE website's page concerning the Early Career Research Program, or the DOE press release concerning the recipients of the 2016 program's funding (PDF format).