Institut de Chimeri de la Matiére Condensée de Bordeaux

Faculty Receive Seed Grants for Collaboration with French Scientists

  • Dec 12, 2023

The University of Texas at Austin and the Office for Science and Technology at the Embassy of France in the United States are pleased to announce the 2023 awardees for the Dr. Cécile DeWitt-Morette France-UT Endowed Excellence Fund.  

Established in 2017 with an initial investment of $100,000, the fund carries a dual mission: to support research collaborations between faculty at UT Austin and institutions in France, and to facilitate awareness and connections across the UT Austin community for French culture, workforce and education. 

"In the spirit of collaborative intellectual pursuits and exploration, UT Austin and the Embassy of France share the vision to propel forward discovery for the benefit of society,” said UT Austin’s Senior Vice Provost for Global Engagement and Chief International Officer Sonia Feigenbaum. “The Cécile DeWitt-Morette France-UT Endowed Excellence Fund supports new and innovative research, linking UT faculty with esteemed institutions across France and forging a global alliance dedicated to advancing the frontiers of discovery."  

This year’s grantees represent three UT Austin departments across the College of Natural Sciences and Cockrell School of Engineering:  

Delia Milliron

Delia Milliron, department chair and professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, will work with the Institut de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Bordeaux and CNRS on a research project entitled, “Mixed tungsten-niobium oxides as novel plasmonic electrochromic nanomaterials for smart windows applications.”  

Layla Parast

Layla Parast, associate professor in the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences, was awarded for her collaboration with INSERM and the Université de Bordeaux on “Rank-Based Identification of Surrogates in Small Ebola Studies (RISE).”  

D. Nicolas Espinoza

Associate professor D. Nicolas Espinoza in the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering was funded for his proposal, “Crystallization-Driven Fractures in Porous Media,” in partnership with the Université Grenoble Alpes. 

The endowment is named in honor of Cécile DeWitt-Morette, a French mathematician, physicist and former faculty member of the College of Natural Sciences. Her storied career, efforts to advance global collaboration among the scientific community and reputation as a determined innovator inspire the spirit of the excellence fund. To date, the endowment has supported 10 joint research projects between faculty at UT Austin and French institutions. 

For information on the Cécile DeWitt-Morette France-UT Endowed Excellence fund, visit the Texas Global website.