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Penn Arts and Sciences announced the creation of the Vagelos Institute of Energy Sciences and Technology, an institute designed to fund and promote innovation and new solutions to problems related to alternative sources of energy and energy use and storage.

According to Penn President Amy Gutmann, the Vagelos Institute will inspire collaborative research efforts within the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and across many areas of the University.

“It will capitalize on Penn’s strategic strength in integrating knowledge across disciplines to address one of the most critical challenges facing our world today — the need for alternative energy sources,” Gutmann said according to Penn News.

The Institute is being developed through a partnership between Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. The institute will be lead primarily by senior scientists with assistance from other faculty members, fellows and students, all of whom will participate in team-based research.

The institute is designed to create a partnership across different departments of the University while simultaneously funding research in innovative solutions to energy-related problems and training the next generation of energy researchers through seminars, lectures and symposiums on key energy research topics as well as the sponsorship of fellowships.

Dean of Penn Arts and Sciences Steven J. Fluharty and Nemirovsky Family Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Vijay Kumar both agreed on the importance of finding both innovative and practical solutions to energy problems.

“Finding sustainable solutions for energy needs is a critical priority for the nation and the world, and that’s why expanding our capabilities in this area is also a priority of Penn Arts and Sciences’ new strategic plan,” said Fluharty.

The sentiment was echoed by Vijay Kumar. “Energy is one of the grand challenges facing our planet,” he said. “It is one that requires not only fundamental advances in the basic science but also technological innovation to bring these advances to practice.”

The Vagelos Institute of Energy Sciences and Technology promises to help cement Penn’s position as one of the premier research institutions for sustainable energy research and innovation.

The Vagelos Institute will be made possible through a gift from 1950 College gradaute Dr. Roy Vagelos and his wife Diana Vagelos.

“There are so many technologies that can be looked to for future sources of energy — solar, fuel cells, wind, hydrogen fission — not to mention the chemicals that we don’t even know anything about now, which could hold answers for alternative energy,” Dr. Vagelos said. “My wife and I are passionate about this subject, and we have the notion that Penn can make a unique contribution.”

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