The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering will expand on the university's existing research in molecular engineering, which builds on advances in basic sciences to design technology at the molecular level and provide new approaches to fundamental societal challenges. It is the first new school at the university in three decades and its first engineering school.
The gift, which is in addition to previous gifts totaling $25 million from the foundation in support of the Institute for Molecular Engineering and the construction of the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility, will be used to establish the new school. Its predecessor, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, was established in 2011 through a partnership between the university and the Argonne National Laboratory. With the gift, the Pritzker School will focus on research and education programs, including programs in quantum engineering, biotechnology and immuno-engineering, advanced materials, energy storage, and ensuring a clean global water supply, and will work to establish new collaborations among leading researchers from a range of science and engineering disciplines.
"I became interested in molecular engineering nearly a decade ago when it was just a bold idea, recognizing the potential for the university to help build a new field of study. Molecular engineering could provide a disruptive approach to translational science while supporting the continuing evolution of the University of Chicago and becoming a catalyst to make Chicago a center of excellence in scientific innovation," said Pritzker Foundation trustee Thomas J. Pritzker. "Under the leadership of university faculty and president [Robert J.] Zimmer, that powerful idea is becoming a reality. Our early support provided resources to develop the initiative and recruit Matthew Tirrell as founding director. As molecular engineering at the university gained traction, we wanted to support the next exciting phase."
"Chicago's future rests on ensuring access to high-quality education and developing jobs for the next generation of new businesses," said Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot. "By creating the nation's first school of molecular engineering, the University of Chicago will transform the opportunities available for our young people while helping our city lead the twenty-first century in technology and innovation."
(Photo credit: Robert Kozloff)