University faculty members depend on grants to fund their research projects, but Stanford's Yi Cui, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, just got a larger-than-usual grant: $10 million from a Saudi university.
He will begin hiring students and staff for his lab in McCullough Building when the grant begins in May, figuring out how to spend $10 million.
"The money will allow me to explore a lot of exciting ideas which are not otherwise possible," Cui said. "Very crazy ideas but potentially very high impact projects that could change the whole world if successful."
Cui, 32, specializes in nanotechnology.
The $10 million grant is from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, which is in the process of being built.
Both Stanford and UC-Berkeley have established ties to help recruit world-class faculty members. Stanford will advise KAUST on hiring faculty and creating curricula in mathematics and computer science.
Cui is one of a dozen scientists internationally chosen by KAUST as "global research partnership investigators" who will be expected to spend between three weeks and three months a year on the new Saudi campus once it is built.
Others selected were from UC-Berkeley, MIT, Penn State, the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Oxford, University of Tokyo, University of Cambridge, Chalmers Institute of Technology in Sweden, University of Toronto and the University of Rome.
Cui was in the news recently for his work on producing rechargeable batteries for laptops and iPods that would hold a charge much longer than current batteries.
Cui is a native of Guangxi Province in China, holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Science and Technology in China and a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard. He was recently named an "outstanding young investigator" by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.