Hi, I'm Matt O'Donnell, Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Washington. Happy new year, and welcome to this edition of Washington Engineer.
I want to start with some very exciting news, that we learned in the fall, about a team of UW students who won the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, or iGEM. This is a design contest, very similar to things like the concrete canoe or other competitions we're used to, but for biological engineering—that is, engineering living systems.
Our team won multiple levels of competition, and won the international prize, that is, first place among all teams in the world for their programs on gluten intolerance and generating biofuels. It was a very exciting time and a very dynamic group of kids.
Another very important thing that happened this fall is that, in the governor's proposal for the new state budget for the next biennium, there was a specific mention of an engineering initiative which would bring in funds to allow us to grow by about 400 new students. Even in these very difficult economic times, this was clearly testament to the visibility that the college has had in the last couple of months. We're hoping that this initiative will actually be passed by the legislature and we'll indeed be able to grow the number of slots in engineering.
In the coming year I'm very excited by a number of items. First of all, we hope that the governor's proposal is adopted by the legislature and we can grow engineering enrollments at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our new engineering research center is ramping up and we'll see this in full gear in the next few months. And finally the Molecular Engineering [& Sciences] Building will open this summer, a very very exciting time for the college.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Washington Engineer. Thank you.