June 26, 2023

The Welch Foundation Announces Nearly $28 Million in Texas Research Grant Funding

Houston, TX – The Welch Foundation, one of the nation’s largest sources of private funding for basic chemical research, has announced its 2023 research grant funding of nearly $28 million. The funds will be allocated over the next three years, with annual payouts of $9,100,000 to colleges and universities across the state of Texas. Since inception, the Foundation has contributed nearly $1.1 billion to the advancement of chemistry.

“The Welch Foundation continues to emphasize the creative pursuit of basic chemical research,” said Adam Kuspa, President of The Welch Foundation. “Our funding allows investigators throughout the state to follow their curiosity and explore the foundations chemical processes. We look forward to seeing the discovery and innovation that comes from this year’s grant recipients’ efforts.”

The grants will help fund a number of research projects and investigators. Several highlights include:

  • Feliciano Gustino, Professor, Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at the University of Texas in Austin, leads his research team focused on establishing first-principles computational methods to interpret the origin of light absorption and emission in halide perovskites and related materials. The grant provides a potential for ground-breaking discoveries in disruptive, new materials for solar energy harvesting in addition to advancing and accelerating the transition to renewable energy. Gustino previously received Welch funding in 2019.
  • Kayunta Johnson-Winters, Associate Professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at the University of Texas at Arlington, will focus her research on a new class of sugar metabolizing enzymes in pathogenic microbes such as the causative agent of Tuberculosis (TB), Mycobacteria tuberculosis. Her plans to characterize these enzymes will expand our foundational knowledge of how they function and may suggest new avenues of treatment for TB and other infectious diseases.
  • Haotian Wang, Assistant Professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Department at Rice University, will focus on the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into useful chemicals, such as ethanol, to support sustainable chemistry strategies. The work will establish a knowledge base for electrochemical CO2 reduction reactions by providing a deeper understanding of interfacial chemistry on the reaction pathway, potentially improving the ability to apply this environmentally friendly strategy more broadly.

2023 University and College Funding Breakdown:

Houston-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 36 grants, totaling $10,800,000
  • Grants awarded to Rice University, Texas A&M University, University of Houston and Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Medical Branch

Dallas-Fort Worth-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 28 grants, totaling $8,400,000
  • Grants awarded to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, The University of Texas at Dallas, University of North Texas, Baylor University, The University of Texas at Arlington

Austin-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 23 grants, totaling $6,900,000
  • Grants awarded to The University of Texas at Austin

San Antonio-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 2 grants, totaling $600,000
  • Grants awarded to The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Trinity University

West Texas-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 1 grant, totaling $300,000
  • Grant awarded to The University of Texas at El Paso

North Texas-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 1 grant, totaling $300,000
  • Grants awarded Texas Tech University

Since its inception in 1954, the Houston-based Welch Foundation has contributed nearly $1.1 billion to the advancement of chemistry through research grants, departmental research grants, endowed chairs and support for other chemistry-related programs in Texas. The Foundation also presents the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry and the Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research each year. The Welch Award recognizes individuals who have made important chemical research contributions which have a significant, positive influence on humankind. The recipient receives a gold medallion and $500,000. The Hackerman Award recognizes the accomplishments of chemical scientists in Texas who are early in their careers. The current monetary amount of the award is $100,000.

For more information on the Foundation, please visit www.welch1.org.

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