Rorrer to lead new NSF program

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Gregory Rorrer

Gregory Rorrer, a College of Engineering professor and head of the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering (CBEE) will begin service with the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a rotating program director of the Energy for Sustainability Program within the Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) Division of the Engineering Directorate, beginning Feb. 3.

In that role, Rorrer will lead efforts to support fundamental research and education in emerging renewable energy technologies, with a focus on advanced biofuels, photovoltaic and photocatalytic solar energy conversion systems, wind energy, and energy storage. Rorrer will also be involved in the development and implementation of joint solicitations between NSF and the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Professor Rorrer’s outstanding leadership has led to significant outcomes for the School of CBEE,” said Sandra Woods, dean of the College of Engineering. “I am certain that he’ll continue to deliver that level of impact at the national scale through NSF.”

During Rorrer’s two-year service as its head, the School of CBEE has experienced tremendous growth and success. It added six new tenure-track faculty, graduated the largest class ever with 114 undergraduate and 35 graduate degrees this year, and launched a new environmental engineering graduate program last year. Design and construction of a new home for the school will soon begin as a result of $20 million in private support and $20 million in matching state bonds.

“It has truly been an honor, and a pleasure, to serve as school head for the past two and half years,” said Rorrer. “I wish the College of Engineering success as momentum continues to build with expanding opportunities for students, hiring of new faculty, and opening of new facilities.”

Since joining the Oregon State faculty in 1989 Rorrer has earned international recognition for his research on using algae in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and environmental applications, such as renewable energy. His research has received funding from major federal government agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Science Foundation. From 2009 to 2011, he worked in Washington, D.C., as program director for the Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation.

Rorrer, the Kuse Chair in Chemical Engineering, earned his bachelor’s degree at University of Michigan before completing his master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering at Michigan State.

While serving in his newly appointed role in Washington, D.C., Rorrer will retain his tenured professorship on the Oregon State University faculty.

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