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. Twelve programs at ten different universities throughout the world were awarded funding in 2020-2021.

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


Professors Lisa Porter and Robert Davis, Carnegie Mellon University

Fundamental Research on Gallium-Oxide Epitaxial Films: Investigation of Polymorphs for High Efficiency Power Electronics

Professor Tsunenobu Kimoto, Kyoto University

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

Professor Haley Doude, Mississippi State University

Towards the Prediction and Reduction of Residual Stesses in Additively Manufactured Ti-6A1-4V

Professor Brian D'Urso, Montana State University

Improving Gravitational Measurements using Silicon Vacancy Defects in Levitated 4H-SiC Particles

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 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 Linran Fan, University of Arizona

Scalable Integration of Diamond Color Centers with Aluminum Nitride Photonics for quantum Information Science

Professor Uttam Singisetti, University of Buffalo

Next Generation Ultrawide-Bandgap Electronics

Professor Matthew Doty, University of Delaware

Wafer-scale Growth of Site-Determined Wavelength-Turntable Quantum Emitters in Atomicaly-Thin (2D) Semiconductors

Professor John Dallesasse, University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana

Polarization Control in VCSELs for Compact LiDAR and AR/VR Applications

Professor Bopaya Bidanda and Ravi Shankar Meenakshisundaram, University of Pittsburgh

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

Professor Sriram Krishnamoorthy, University of Utah

Epitaxial Growth of Ultra-Wide Bandgap Gallium (Aluminum) Oxide Thin Films and Heterostructures

Professor Jerrold Floro, University of Virginia

Additive Manufacturing of Thermally Stable Freeform Optical Reflectors Through Engineered Composites

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 Mini-Conferences

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. In 2020our first ever virtual mini-conference was held with great success.

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

2020 Block-Gift Critical Dates.doc
2021-2022 Block-Gift Critical Dates.doc
2020-2021 UK Critical Dates.doc
2020 Procedure to be Considered for a Block-Gift Invitation.doc