SAN LUIS OBISPO — A recent $250,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation will allow the Cal Poly
Global Waste Research Institute
(GWRI) to integrate new waste-related issues and environmental impacts
related to nanotechnology into the school’s broader undergraduate
science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.
GWRI Director Nazli Yesiller said the funds, which follow a
$50,000 Keck Foundation planning grant, will affect a wide variety of
courses and disciplines, both technical and non-technical.
“The nanotechnology waste management portion could involve more
than 700 students a year in nine separate disciplines including civil
and environmental engineering, chemistry, materials engineering,
mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, industrial technology,
political science, and ethnic studies” Yesiller said.
“Securing this grant involved a highly selective process and takes
Cal Poly into a new area — a leading edge — of integrating new emerging
waste-related subject matter into the classroom, an area for which
currently no text books are available.”
According to Yesiller, advancements have been made in the
manufacture and use of nanomaterials with commercial applications and
available products numbering in the thousands. However, the short-and
long-term environmental impacts of these new materials and effectiveness
of common waste management technologies for nanomaterials are largely
The Keck grant will support a postdoctoral fellow who will develop
teaching and learning tools related to nanowaste management, including
course content, classroom and laboratory exercises, databases and
“This grant helps ensure that the next generation of workforce and
graduate students will be equipped with awareness and interdisciplinary
technical skills required for providing solutions to emerging global
environmental problems,” explained Yesiller.
The goal of GWRI is to educate future generations of professionals in sustainable waste and byproduct management.