Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Pinshane Huang Awarded 2017 Packard Fellowship

October 16, 2017 (Los Altos, CA) – Today, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation named 18 of the nation’s most innovative, early-career scientists and engineersas recipients of the 2017 Packard Fellowships forScienceand Engineering.Each Fellow willreceive $875,000 over five years to pursue their research.

The Packard Fellowships areamong the nation’s largest nongovernmental fellowships, designed to allow maximum flexibility in how the funding is used. Packard Fellows have gone on to achieve significant accomplishments, receiving additional awards and honors that include the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Fields Medal, the Alan T. Waterman Award, MacArthur Fellowships, and elections to the National Academies. Their work has led to impressive research outcomes, including the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique, sequencing the Ebola virus genome, the creation of Bose-Einstein condensates, and pioneering research on glaciology and abrupt climate change.

“These scientists and engineers are tackling unanswered questions and pushing the boundaries of their fields,” said Frances Arnold, Chair of the Packard Fellowships Advisory Panel and former Packard Fellow, of this year’s class. “Their innovations could lead to breakthroughs in how we live our lives and our understanding of nature. Is there another planet in our solar system? Can we find a way to predict earthquakes? Can learning more about how we make memories help us preserve them? If past fellowships are any indication, the possibilities are boundless.”

Since 1988, the Foundation has awarded $394 million to support 577 scientists and engineersfrom 54 nationaluniversities.  The Fellowships program was inspired byDavid Packard’s commitment to strengthen university-based scienceand engineering programs in the United States, recognizing that the success of the Hewlett-Packard Company, which he cofounded, was derived in large measure from research and development in university laboratories.

This year, the Foundation increased its overall grant budget in response to new challengesto promote stronger national support for science and greater reliance on evidence-based decision-making. The Packard Foundation’s work is grounded in science and research to ensure the Foundation’s investments have lasting impact.

“David Packard was passionate about investing in our country’s scientists and engineers because he believed philanthropy could play a unique role in sparking discovery,”said Lynn Orr, Packard Fellows Advisory Panel member and former Foundation Trustee. “Unrestricted, flexible funding, coupled with support from universities, the public sector, industry, and nonprofit organizations provides scientists and engineers creative space to unearth new knowledge.”

The Packard Foundation established the Fellowships program in 1988. Each year, the Foundation invites 50 universities to nominate two faculty members for consideration. ThePackard Fellowships Advisory Panel, agroup of 12 internationally-recognized scientists and engineers, evaluates the nominations and recommends Fellows for approval by thePackard Foundation Board of Trustees.

Packard Fellows must be faculty members who are eligible to serve as principal investigators on research in the natural and physical sciences or engineering, and must be within the first three years of their faculty careers. Disciplines that are considered include physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, astronomy, computer science, earth science, ocean science and all branches of engineering.


About Pinshane Huang

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois  

Discipline: Materials Science, Nanotechnology

Huang’s research develops techniques that use electron microscopes to characterize matter with single atom precision, with the ultimate goal of enabling an era in which materials can be designed and perfected at the level of individual atoms.

Assistant Professor Pinshane Huang
Assistant Professor Pinshane Huang


For more detailed information on each of the Fellows, please visit the Fellowship Directory.


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About the Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering

For 29 years, the Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering program has awarded $394 million to support 577 scientists from 54 top nationaluniversities. It isamong the nation's largest nongovernmental fellowships, designed with minimal constraints on how the funding is used to give the Fellows freedom to think big and look at complex issues with a fresh perspective. Packard Fellows have gone on to receive additional awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Fields Medal, the MacArthur Fellowships, and elections to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. Visit the Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering webpageto learn more about the program and watch a video about the Fellowships.


About the David and Lucile Packard Foundation

David and Lucile Packard Foundation is a private family foundation created in 1964 by David Packard (1912–1996), cofounder of the Hewlett-Packard Company, and Lucile Salter Packard (1914–1987). The Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations in the following program areas: Conservation and Science; Population and Reproductive Health; Children, Families, and Communities; and Local Grantmaking. The Foundation makes national and international grants and also has a special focus on the Northern California counties of San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey. Foundation grantmaking includes support for a wide variety of activities including direct services, research and policy development, and public information and education. Learn more at


Contact:Packard Foundation Communications Department, (650) 917-7142,