The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has announced the inaugural recipients of a new fellowship program that recognizes early-career innovators at U.S. universities with great potential to accelerate progress in scientific research, environmental conservation, and patient care.
Designed to catalyze scientific breakthroughs such as Intel co-founder Gordon Moore's 1965 formulation of what came to be known as "Moore's Law" — which predicted that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double roughly every year into the foreseeable future — the Moore Inventor Fellows program will support fifty fellows over ten years with an investment of nearly $34 million. Through the program, each fellow will receive a total of $825,000 over three years, including $50,000 a year from his or her home institution. While the competition initially will focus on inventors at U.S. institutions that are members of the Association of American Universities, as well as fifteen additional institutions from among the top fifty NIH-funded medical schools, eligibility may be expanded in subsequent years.
The inaugural Moore Inventor Fellows are Deji Akinwande (University of Texas, Austin), who is creating an atomically thin 2D-silicon structure known as silicene that could provide a tenfold increase in energy efficiency for integrated circuits such as computer chips; Shane Ardo (University of California, Irvine), whose materials invention uses sunlight to drive an ion-pumping mechanism that could be used to boost the power output and efficiency of electrochemical technologies; Xingjie Ni (Pennsylvania State University), whose invention is a brighter quantum light source that could ultimately increase the speed, scale, and security of information transmission in quantum communication/computing and foster optical camouflage, which has potential applications in aviation and health care; Joanna Slusky (University of Kansas), who is inventing a protein that will re-sensitize bacteria to common antibiotics, reducing the dangers posed by drug-resistant superbugs; and Mona Jarrahi (University of California, Los Angeles), who is developing an imaging tool to help researchers understand how fundamental biological molecules behave in their natural environment.
"We are investing in promising scientist-problem solvers with a passion for inventing – like Gordon Moore himself," said Moore Foundation president Harvey V. Fineberg. "By providing support to these early-career researchers, we can give them the freedom to try out new ideas that could make a real and positive difference."