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Beckman Foundation Awards Funding for Mass Spectrometry for Atmospheric Monitoring

Teams at Three Institutions Selected to Receive Total of $3M for Development of Novel Instrumentation

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation today announced selection of three awardees for its instrumentation grant, Mass Spectrometry for Atmospheric Monitoring, which will provide support of up to $1 million per site for development of new instrument prototype designs that offer the most advanced mass spectrometry detection capabilities and sensitivity levels in lightweight, inexpensive, and easily operable systems for mobile monitoring. This investment underscores the Foundation’s mission of supporting research breakthroughs in chemistry and the life sciences, and fostering the invention of methods, instruments, and materials that open new avenues of research and applications in these sciences and related disciplines.

The following institutions were selected after a scientific review committee evaluated submissions from the Foundation’s open request for proposals:

  • Furman University, Team Lead: Dr. Mac Gilliland
  • University of Washington, Team Lead: Dr. Joel Thornton
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Team Lead: Dr. Timothy Bertram
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Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique typically conducted within the lab which can be used to identify the chemical composition of a substance by measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of ions. Mass spectrometers can provide the information needed for the detection of hazardous pollutants; however, most systems are still too large and expensive, and require a trained operator with scientific expertise, to be effectively used for long-term monitoring. Having easily deployable instruments to perform these measurements is essential for collecting these data sets. This challenge represents an opportunity for scientists and engineers to work in interdisciplinary teams for a solution to a real-world problem, reminiscent of Dr. Arnold O. Beckman’s own efforts in combating smog in Los Angeles via environmental monitoring and the study of physical processes in the air.

“Our intent for this program is to support scientists, with a focus on undergraduates, to become inventors and innovators in this compelling area of research by building tools and instruments,” explained Dr. Anne Hultgren, Beckman Foundation’s Executive Director. “Miniaturizing mass spectrometers has been an active area of research for many years. If successful, the prototype monitoring systems developed by our awardee teams could have a lasting impact on informing policy decisions on sources of pollution, improving indoor and outdoor air quality, and furthering democratization of access to clean air around the world.”

Program awards will span a three-year period funded in annual installments tentatively scheduled to begin in June 2023.

Read the full news release here on PRweb.