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Wayne State Professor Earns DOE Award

Eranda Nikolla, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering
Eranda Nikolla, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering – WSU

The Office of Science of the Department of Energy has selected Wayne State University assistant professor of chemical engineering Dr. Eranda Nikolla to receive their Early Career Research Program award for her work in energy science.

Dr. Nikolla’s research proposal, “Nanostructured, Targeted Layered Metal Oxides as Active and Selective Heterogeneous Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Evolution,” was accepted by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences (PDF). The award will bring $750,000 to her lab over a five-year period to support the continuation of her research.

The Department of Energy Early Career Research Program supports “the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science.” In plain English: to grow the scientific workforce of tomorrow and to grow our understanding of the world, the program finds young researchers with great potential and makes an investment.


Some energy storage systems work by taking electricity and converting it to chemical energy. Nikolla’s work will lay the foundation for a better understanding of efficient catalysts that make this process possible. Success will mean the development of better materials and more efficient processes for the conversion and storage of energy.

A Great Honor

Through a university press release, she spoke about the award. “It is a great honor that our research was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy with a 2015 Early Career Research Award. The funded work will have a significant impact in the field by providing fundamental insights that can guide the design of nonprecious metal oxide systems for electrocatalysis.”

Gloria Heppner, Ph.D., associate vice president for research at Wayne State University, “Dr. Nikolla was awarded this prestigious grant from the Department of Energy for her transformative research ideas that may one day soon make a major impact on how energy is converted and stored. She is most deserving of this outstanding recognition from the DOE.”

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