The University of Chicago will launch first-ever Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering with the $75 million grant gifted by the Pritzker family, per the statement issued by university officials on Tuesday. The massive donation sum was given by Pritzker Foundation, one of the oldest benefactors of the Hyde Park institution and will assist in establishing the first new school in the varsity premise since last three decades.
The U. of C. and the Pritzkers have also invested in the field of molecular engineering. According to U. of C. officials, this school will be the first of its kind in the country exclusively dedicated to molecular engineering, an emerging field of science that combines multiple sciences to access minute forms of matter, along with building new technologies from the ground up.
Matthew Tirrell, the institute director who will also become the new school’s dean said, “In contrast to science sometimes, engineering is explicitly about the benefit for society. We operate very close to basic science and turn biology, physics and chemistry into useful technologies.”
The university established its first molecular engineering institute in 2011 in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory. Since then the institute has achieved countless laurels and now includes 28 professors with a diverse range of research projects focusing on immuno-engineering, sustainability, quantum engineering and advanced materials.
With this new gift to the school, the Pritzkers have also given the varsity $100 million to assist their molecular engineering research endeavours. Their donations also funded the institute’s Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility at the Eckhardt Research Center.
According to Pritzker Foundation Trustee Tom Pritzker “Our aspirations are that (the Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering) will generate solutions for some of the society’s biggest challenges whether they are solutions for clean water, un-hackable computers or finding ways for our immune systems to fight cancer. The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering will have a major impact on the city of Chicago, its capabilities in technology development, and the university’s outreach initiatives across the city.”
The institute currently operates as a graduate division within the University of Chicago and grants their own degrees. The institute initiated its first doctoral degree programme in fall 2014 and first undergraduate programme in 2015. The first undergraduate class of the institute received their degrees in 2018.