A total $1.1 million for research and development at Montana Tech from the Army Research Lab has been secured, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., announced Monday.
The money supports Tech’s efforts to reduce the cost, environmental impact and foreign dependence of strategic minerals and metals that are used for military technologies, a news release said. These technologies include jet engines, magnets for precision guided weaponry and night vision goggles
Today, a majority of the world’s production of these strategic materials comes from China, a reality that underscores the critical nature of Tech’s efforts to develop new technologies for improving mineral and metal production and to cultivate the state’s future workforce, the release said.
It is the first year of an agreement of up to five years with the Army Research Lab to conduct this critical research. Funding under the agreement has the potential to grow substantially with each year of the agreement, Tester said.
“These investments will continue to expand the Materials Science Ph.D. program at Montana Tech and drive even more graduates to good paying jobs,'' Tester said.
Tester, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured additional money for materials research in the last two appropriation bills and advocated for Tech to be chosen to perform materials research and development for the Army Research Lab.
The first year of the research and development is focused on existing materials and manufacturing of polymer, ceramic, and rare earth elements used by the U.S. Army.
Recently, the Wall Street Journal named Montana Tech in the top 10 best public universities for returns on investment.