According to a UNM press release, the University has been awarded $1.6 million from the National Science Foundation to continue a program that provides educational services to industry trainers and educators in the expanding field of microsystems.

The grant runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2021 and will fund the creation and maintenance of a large variety of microsystems educational materials used nationwide by colleges, educators and industry members, according to the release. This grant is a continuation of previous grants toward the initiative, called the Southwest Center for Microsystems Education.

According to the release, UNM has been working under NSF grants for almost a decade to develop technical training materials and outreach modules.

This latest grant will focus on converting those materials into an online format and creating a support center for those in the microsystems industry, according to the release. The principal investigator for the grant is Matthias Pleil, a research professor and lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

According to the release, the co-principal investigators are John Wood, professor of mechanical engineering, and Daniel Kainer and Pamela Auburn, who both come from Lone Star College in Houston, Texas.

“The focus of the grant is to support the integration of our educational materials into technician programs and support the growing microsystems industry,” Pleil is quoted as saying in the release. “One of the things we’ll be doing in the next four years is to create online short courses based on these materials. We have about 50 or so learning modules and will be putting them online so that instructors can use them in their classrooms with their students.”

A lot of technical colleges and universities currently use the educational materials, and the investigators will also be working to develop additional classes and resources so that students, technicians and workers can also educate themselves, according to the release.

According to the release, the center’s materials will teach students about cleanroom safety, manufacturing and fabrication, which is of interest to those in advanced manufacturing, since the devices are largely made in cleanrooms.

Classes and workshops are held in UNM’s Manufacturing Technology and Training Center cleanroom so that students and educators can get an authentic experience, according to the press release.

According to the release, UNM’s impact has been significant in this area, as the center has extensive materials on their website that are free for download.

The learning modules get about 6,000 downloads a month, and their YouTube channel has about 45 or so videos, which so far have gotten about a half-million views.

Matthew Reisen is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @MReisen88.