Christopher Bates, an assistant professor in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering (CoE), has received the most prestigious honor awarded to junior faculty by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Bates, who has appointments in the Chemical Engineering and Materials Departments, received the NSF’s Early Career Development (CAREER) award, which includes a five-year federal grant for research and educational activities.
"The most exciting aspect is that the award will fund new and exciting research, which is really enabling for students" said Bates, who joined the CoE faculty in July 2016. "This award enables us to move in new directions at the cutting-edge of science and further integrate into the collaborative environment that is characteristic of UCSB."
Bates’ research group leverages a variety of synthetic and physical experimental techniques to design, construct, and analyze new soft materials. His NSF proposal focused on block copolymers, which are used commercially in products like synthetic rubbers and asphalt modifiers.
“We will be able to really dig into the fundamental and poorly understood structure-property relationships that are the foundations for various applications,” said Bates.
Bates is a shining example of the successful high-quality junior faculty within UCSB’s College of Engineering. Of the twenty-eight assistant professors hired between March 2012 and June 2017, Bates became the fourteenth to receive an NSF CAREER award.
According to UCSB’s Office of Research, UCSB ranks first among public universities and second overall in the percentage of assistant professors who receive NSF CAREER awards each year. At 11.4 %, UCSB leads Northwestern (9.9%); Cornell (9.8%); Stanford (9.8%); Yale (8.9%); UCLA (8.2%); Harvard (8.2%); Carnegie Mellon (8.2%); Michigan (8.2%), UC Berkeley (8.0%) and UC San Diego (8.0%). UCSB trailing only the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (12.4%).