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Crosscutting Expertise Means Synergy at CAER

The first CAER Project Portfolio Review meeting was held back in June 2002. The purpose of this activity was to "assess the technical progress and performance of each group's work, consider current circumstances, and discuss plans for moving forward," according to CAER Director Ari Geertsema.

Since that time, the CAER has held semi-annual Project Portfolio Review meetings with great success. The meetings are an opportunity to share the technical content of work between and within groups and to ensure that all researchers have an appreciation of the lab's overall goals and financial situation. These meetings provide an opportunity to stimulate more collaboration between groups to improve the likelihood of winning proposals.

While interactions with outside organizations are important, so are internal communications. Since these meetings began, many more proposals have been submitted with co-principal investigators within different CAER groups. This overlap isn't obvious at first. The CAER's research areas are quite varied and represent work in the fields of coal preparation, coal ash beneficiation, carbon materials research (carbon fibers, nanotubes), clean fuels & chemicals (catalysis), fuel cells, and concrete. This diversity is reflected in the number of academic departments with which CAER researchers are affiliated. Over the years, the Center's joint proposals have come out of the departments of chemistry, physics, geology, pharmacology, and several departments within the College of Engineering, including mining, chemical & materials, electrical, and mechanical.

One of the greatest benefits of having a Center like CAER within a university is the crosscutting work that goes on here. It varies as much as the backgrounds of the researchers at the lab. For more information on the CAER's experts and their areas of expertise, visit: