Block-Gift Program

Promoting Research at the Graduate Level

Commencing in January 2008, the Foundation reached out to selected 
Universities and Centers of Excellence across the country and asked them to submit a research "White Paper" on scientific topics of interest and importance.  The research proposals were to include the use of graduate and/or undergraduate student assistance. The resulting proposals were reviewed based on scientific approach, educational potential and budgetary realism.  The campuses and laboratories were visited and then a Selection Committee awarded the block-gifts.  In our initial year of the Block-Gift Program, 2008-2009, seven schools were awarded funding for their research. We have supported as many as 21 schools in a single year. Fourteen programs at twelve different universities throughout the world were awarded funding in 2019-2020.

The II-VI Foundation is focused on educating the next generation of engineers, scientists and mathematicians. All Block-Gift programs must have the students and student education as its’ primary focus.

Please note: Proposals are accepted on an invitation only basis. Please see the "Procedure to Be Considered for a Block-Gift Invitation" document attached below for guidelines. If you would like further information on the invitation process please write to 


Professor Nitin Padture, Brown University

Research and Education in Ceramic Nanocomposites


Professor Tsunenobu Kimoto, Kyoto University

Reduction of C-related Defects near SiO2/SiC Interface and Modeling of MOSFET Characteristics


Professor Brian D'Urso, Montana State University

Gravitational Measurements with a SiC Particle in a Magneto-Gravitational Trap


Professor Allen Yi, The Ohio State University

High Volume Multiscale Functional Precision Optical Surface Replication


Professor Anant Agarwal, The Ohio State University

Reliable SiC Power MOSFET Design Methodology


Professor Dae Wook Kim, University of Arizona

New Surfaces, New Systems in Visible and Infrared Deflectometry


Professor Mahmoud Fallahi, University of Arizona

Generation of High-Power Mode-Lock 1550nm Laser in Vertical External Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VECSEL): 

Application for the Next Generation of High Data Rate Communication


Professor Chaoying Ni, University of Delaware

Thermal Transport in SiC and Diamond Based Composites


Professor John Dellesasse, University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana

Transverse Mode Control for High-Performance Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers


Professor Thomas J. Suleski, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Structured Diamond Optical Surfaces


Professor Bopaya Bidanda, University of Pittsburgh

Understanding Kinetics of Carbon Transport across Length-Scales at Diamond-Transition Metal Interfaces


Professor George Nolas, University of South Florida

Investigation and Optimization of Thermoelectric Half-Heusler Alloys


Professor David J. Richardson, University of Southampton

Bi-doped Fibre Amplifiers and Lasers for Increased Bandwidth Communications


Professor Daniel Costinett, University of Tennessee

Comprehensive Design Leveraging Wide Bandgap Devices to Enable High Power, High Efficiency Wireless Charging of Electric Vehicles

Statements from II-VI Foundation Block-Gift Principal Investigators:

"The generosity of the II-VI Foundation has been instrumental in supporting the education and research of an entire crop of future leaders in advanced optical materials and manufacturing. These grants have helped educate students that currently hold faculty and post-doctoral scholar positions at major research universities. We recently received word that a student supported by the block gift program received an Outstanding Scholar Award from the Manufacturing Division of the Institute of Industrial and System Engineers. We thank the support from the II-VI Foundation for making this possible."

                                                            Professor Ravi Shankar Meenakshisundaram
                                                            University of Pittsburgh
                                                            Department of Industrial Engineering

“It is a great privilege to be a recipient of II-VI Foundation Block Gifts award. The II-VI Foundation’s support of the graduate students and innovative research is critical in training the next generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs. Continuous interaction of the students with the II-VI team and their active contribution in technical presentations and reporting are extremely constructive and beneficial.”

                                                            Professor Mahmoud Fallahi
                                                            University of Arizona
                                                            College of Optical Sciences

"The emphasis of the II-VI Foundation Block-Gift program on the training and mentoring of graduate students has provided an exceptional opportunity for the development of graduate students in my group, while simultaneously advancing our research. My students have already benefited from the opportunity to take the leading role in writing progress reports. We look forward to the upcoming mini-conference, where students can gain experience presenting their work in an environment which is less intimidating than a typical professional conference. Our research has also been strengthened by a close collaboration with another group funded by the II-VI Foundation."

                                                            Professor Brian D'Urso
                                                            Montana State University
                                                            Department of Physics

Block-Gift Program II-VI Foundation

The II-VI Foundation holds mini-conferences at different times throughout the year for our Block-Gift recipients.  These mini-conferences provide an environment for the purpose of sharing information, technology and expertise.  Lively discussion can provide opportunities for students and professors to exchange new ideas and perspectives.  In the best case they find common ground for new research topics. The mini-conferences group attendees around common topics of interest. They are held in various locations around the country that allows for local technical participation.

Statement from Mini-Conference Attendees:

"The II-VI Mini-Conference was an invaluable opportunity to meet all II-VI Foundation team members who cover a wide range of the United States. Since it invites both faculties and participating students, it naturally creates and encourages a nicely multiplexed dynamic environment to share ideas, challenges, and educational visions through the program. In particular, my students and I very much enjoyed the sufficiently long, lively, open discussions between various research groups. The conference offered excellent presentations and Q&A sessions for us to hear others' opinions, comments, and advice. We learned a lot from the active feedback and comments from other groups. The overview talk given by Dr. Alan Hedges, Director of IR Engineering at II-VI Incorporated gave us good insights and inspirations leading us to very real applications and target technologies. Thank you and II-VI Foundation for preparing such a nice event and inviting us to the beautiful campus of UNCC. "
                                                                Professor Dae Wook Kim
                                                                College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona

"The mini-conference provided a perfect environment for graduate students to meet with other students with similar interests. Compared to other conferences such as SPIE conferences which can be intimidating, the mini-conference provided a much closer and warmer environment. Since the students attend the conference with the advisors, this provides an opportunity for advisors to work directly with the students. For example, I was able to talk to my students constantly during the conference, maximizing the learning experience. The logistics provided by the II-VI foundation are extremely helpful, allowing attendees to concentrate on the discussions and exchange with each other. The mini-conference also provided an opportunity to hear directly from the Foundation members and help us understand the direction and concerns of the Foundation. The location of the mini-conference was ideal, easy to travel to, plus a chance to visit UNC Charlotte and FLIR within a very tight schedule."

                                                                Professor Allen Yi
                                                                The Ohio State University

Susan Zuk,
Sep 20, 2018, 10:23 AM
Susan Zuk,
Apr 25, 2018, 9:18 AM
Susan Zuk,
Sep 20, 2018, 10:23 AM
Susan Zuk,
Jan 8, 2019, 10:20 AM
Susan Zuk,
Jan 8, 2019, 10:20 AM