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.  7 schools were awarded funding for their research for the 2008-2009 year, 14 schools in 2009-2010, 17 schools in 2010-2011, 19 were awarded funding for their research for the 2011-2012 year and 21 in 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015. Seventeen schools were awarded funding for 2015-2016. In 2016-2017 fifteen schools were awarded funding.

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. If you would like further information on the invitation process please write to 


Professor Sarit Dhar, Auburn University

Exploration of high performance gate dielectrics for next generation SiC power MOSFETS


Professor Nitin Padture, Brown University

Research and Education in Ceramic Nanocomposites


Professor Elizabeth C. Dickey, North Carolina State University

Electric-Field Assisted Processing of Device-Quality Electroceramic Materials


Professor Allen Yi, Ohio State University

Investigation of Precision Molding of Chalcogenide Glass Optics


Professor Eric L. Garfunkel, Rutgers University

SiC MOSFET Reliability - Interfacial Chemistry and Structure


Professor Dae Wook Kim, University of Arizona

Measurement of Freeform Aspherics using SCOTS, the Software Configurable Optical Test System (Phase - II)


Professor Dmitri V. Talapin, University of Chicago

Understanding Morphological Stability of Nanostructured Semiconductors


Professor Chaoying Ni, University of Delaware

Reaction Bonded SiC-Si and B4C-SiC-Si Ceramic Matrix Composites: Formation, Microstructure and Properties


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

Structured Diamond Optics for High Power Lasers


Professor Wolfgang J. Choyke, University of Pittsburgh

Study of very long lifetimes in 4H SiC, High resolution differential absorption of large bulk crystals of 4H SiC and te spin-orbit and crystal field splittings of the valence bands, Optimizing of intrinsic defects in 4H SiC, Optical trapping of nanocrystals of 4H SiC, and Single photon sources using defects in 4H SiC


Professor Bopaya Bidanda, University of Pittsburgh

Materials Design for Enhanced Manufacturability


Professor Jannick P. Rolland, University of Rochester

Metrology of toroidal and off-axis conical surfaces


Professor George Nolas, University of South Florida

Investigation and Optimization of the Thermoelectric Properties of Low Thermal Conductivity Thermoelectric Materials: Skutterudites and "Complex" Chalcogenides


Professor Benjamin J. Blalock, University of Tennessee

Development of a Si-C Based High Temperature Three-Phase Voltage Source Converter with Maximum Switching Speed and Adaptive Operation Capability for High Efficiency


Professor Jerrold A. Floro, University of Virginia

Hierarchial Control of Eco-Friendly Fe-Si-Based Alloys for Thermoelectric Applications

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

"It has been delightful to see how II-VI rigorously promotes the training and development of graduate students in such a proactive and visible way.  It's not just the funding, but the processes you've incorporated, including student responsibility 
for writing reports, and their participation in the mini-conferences, that are so helpful.  And we have all benefited from our interactions with other research groups in the II-VI family."

                                                             Professor Jerrold A. Floro
                                                             University of Virginia
                                                             Materials Science and Engineering

"The modern Research University is not ideally suited to both work on the frontiers of science and at the same time maximize the mentoring of graduate and undergraduate research students. The focusing on research objectives is primarily driven by the dictates of Federal Research Grants. In contrast, the II-VI Foundation has in its charter the education and scientific development of the students participating in a first class research environment. In our program, two senior professors are available to both graduate and undergraduate members of the team for consultation seven days a week. The II-VI Foundation is making this possible through the flexibility of their Block Gifts. The Block Gifts are awarded, not only for the merits of the proposed research, but also by the educational impact on the students. This helps fill an important national need!"

                                                           Professor Wolfgang J. Choyke
                                                           Professor Robert P. Devaty
                                                           Department of Physics and Astronomy
                                                           University of Pittsburgh

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 Attendee:

"The 2016 mini-conference was extremely successful.  It was a highly productive exercise, especially for the students. The environment was professional, yet relaxed.  The way it was planned provided ample opportunity for students from different programs to interact with their peers as well as professors. The talks were very well planned which made for rich scientific 
discussions. Such interactions are very valuable for students as they get to present to a focused audience, as opposed to a large multidisciplinary conference."
                                                              Professor Sarit Dhar
                                                              Physics Department, Auburn University

Susan Zuk,
Jan 23, 2017, 8:05 AM