Monday, May 1, 2017

Sustainability Professor Receives NSF CAREER AWARD for Fuel Cell Research

Wake Forest chemistry professor Michael Gross has been named a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Award winner. The CAREER Award from the NSF Directorate for Engineering provides $500,000 over five years.


AREER AWARDS are the NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty and are designed to help provide a foundation for a lifetime of scientific leadership. The awards are given to outstanding scientists who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research, education and the integration of education and research.

Gross seeks to create and preserve nanomaterials at incredibly high temperatures. His work provides a foundation for realizing more efficient, high-powered fuel cell technologies.

Gross teaches one of the four core courses for the Sustainability Graduate Programs at Wake Forest University. In SUS 703: Natural Sciences for Sustainability Students explore qualitative and quantitative chemical and physical aspects of sustainability for waste, water, air, and energy. The course provides an in-depth scientific understanding of the most important nonrenewable and renewable energy sources. Students study the world’s present and future energy needs, focus on energy production, consumption, and environmental impact, and explore ways in which these principles relate to sustainability.

“I’m honored and excited,” said Gross. “This award is a game-changer, not only for my personal career but for Wake Forest’s new engineering program. The funds will support my research and, at the same time, they will benefit our inaugural class of engineering students as we work together to solve pressing issues in energy.”

This year’s awardees hail from 88 institutions across 34 U.S. states. They bring a diverse range of engineering expertise and thinking, essential components for innovation and the development of new technologies.

WFU Sustainability Professor Michael Gross receives NSF CAREER Award for $500,000.
WFU Sustainability Professor Michael Gross receives NSF CAREER Award for $500,000.

“The impacts of NSF early career awards extend well beyond the five years of the grant,” said Barry Johnson, acting NSF assistant director for engineering. “CAREER grantees have thought about their research objectives, the knowledge they want to gather and the innovations they want to create over the long term. CAREER awards set in motion lifetime journeys of research for the investigators, and often for their students, too.”

In January 2017, Wake Forest launched new academic programs in engineering and biomedical science The University’s undergraduate presence, referred to as Wake Downtown, opened in the rehabilitated former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company 60 series building in the Innovation Quarter, adjacent to the Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities, and other institutions.

Originally published at on May 1, 2017.

Article written by:

Associate Director, News and Communications

Wake Forest News

Wake Forest University

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Associate Professor of Chemistry

Wake Forest University

Distance Learning
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Virtual Classrooms for Fall of 2021

The Sustainability Graduate Program will be offered as virtual online courses (real-time, face-to-face classes meeting in an online virtual classroom) for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Students can complete the entire degree remotely, including electives. Some in-person electives are available if on-campus classes are preferred.