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Li, Wenzhen

Bailey Award funding will support new research in solar-assisted biomass processing

By Office of the Vice President for Research

Wenzhen Li, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, will receive Bailey Research Career Development Award funding to support a new project in solar-assisted biomass processing.

Li will investigate novel electrochemical cells from biomass that are photosensitive and that can conduct solar-assisted photo electrolysis of biorenewable feedstock. His work will advance fundamental understanding of photo electrolysis mechanisms, and create the basis transfer new technologies for directly combining sunlight, electricity, and carbon sources for the production of chemicals and fuels.

The Bailey Research Career Development Award is given annually to senior Iowa State faculty who pursue high-risk, innovative research that represents a new thread of inquiry for the investigator. The goal of the Bailey award is to allow faculty to devote time toward high-risk, high-impact research that addresses emerging scientific, technical and/or societal problems resulting in practical applications and, in appropriate disciplines, extramural funding.

Sarah Nusser, Iowa State vice president for research, characterized the Bailey awards as “one of our most prestigious awards to foster ground-breaking research by mid-career and senior faculty.”

Nusser noted that the Bailey award can have significant impacts on the careers of Bailey winners, who take extraordinary risk in pursuing a completely new line of scientific inquiry.

“The Bailey Award is another important way that Iowa State funding seeks to expand our research excellence by advancing the frontiers of scientific discovery,” Nusser said.

The Bailey Research Career Development Award was established by a gift from Carl A. and Grace B. Bailey. This year’s Bailey award was $50,000 per year, for two or three years of support.