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DCTC receives grant to create regional center

Dakota County Technical College received a $3 million grant to develop the Midwest Center for Nanotechnology Education from the National Science Foundation. The college learned it had received the grant early in September.

The center, which also will be called Nano-Link, will create qualified graduates to work in nanoscale science and technology.

"The things that will happen are going to be phenomenal," said Deb Newberry, director of DCTC's Nanoscience Technology program.

Nano-Link is an extension of DCTC's current nanoscience program which started in 2004 with the cooperation of the University of Minnesota. The program was established to prepare graduates to work in the wide array of industries where nanoscience technologies are becoming important.

Newberry said the NSF funds very few regional centers so the organization choosing DCTC is a big deal.

"It establishes DCTC as a national leader in nanotechnology," said Newberry. "It's really exciting."

Nano-Link will provide resources and support to six two-year colleges and two regional universities throughout a five-state region including North Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. The center also will partner with companies throughout those states to create employment and educational opportunities.

According to a DCTC press release the United States alone expends more than $3 billion annually on nanotechnology research and development. Nanotechnology can be found in every day products such as make up, food and electronics.