Tulane University establishes energy law chair

Kim Talus, a European scholar of energy law, has been named the inaugural holder of the James McCulloch Chair in Energy Law at Tulane University Law School.

The new chair was launched with a $2 million-endowment gift from energy industry veteran Jim McCulloch and his wife, Susan. McCulloch is the executive vice president and general counsel for Forum Energy Technologies in Houston.

Through the center, the university aims to leverage its strengths in the fields of maritime, environmental and international law to build a world-leading program in energy law, according to a statement from the school.

Talus is currently a professor of energy law at the University of Helsinki and the University of Eastern Finland, where he is also a founding co-director of the Center for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law. In January 2018, Talus will join Tulane University Law School faculty, serving as the founding director of the new Tulane Center for Energy Law.

“Energy law and policy is inherently and increasingly international and has never been more important,” Tulane University Law School Dean David Meyer said in a statement. “Tulane Law School is uniquely positioned to lead in this area, given its location in the heart of America’s energy corridor and its long leadership in the closely allied fields of environmental, international, and maritime law.”

Sirja-Leena Penttinen, a lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland and frequent Talus collaborator, will serve as assistant director of the Tulane Center for Energy Law.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kim Talus and Sirja-Leena Penttinen to Tulane and excited about what they will help us build here,” Meyer said.

Loyola launches family economic security project

Loyola University New Orleans’ Jesuit Social Research Institute (JSRI) has launched a new project designed to improve child and family-centered economic security in the Gulf South.

The Economic Security for Vulnerable Families project, which seeks to engage communities and faith-based organizations in the effort in Louisiana and Mississippi, is being funded by a two-year $263,480 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“Poverty, racial injustice, education gaps, and food insecurity continue to be key issues facing families in Louisiana and Mississippi, two of the most economically poor states in the nation and with better information, our communities can provide better solutions,” the Rev. Fred Kammer, executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute, said in a prepared statement.

Through the project, JSRI will explore racial equity, addressing issues such as family income, health insurance coverage, housing affordability, school segregation, wage equity, unemployment, education gaps and equity, and food insecurity, according to a statement from the school.

The project will also support development of new hunger-specific research focused on Louisiana that will be useful for organizations in New Orleans area working on issues related to food insecurity and food justice.

UNO awarded $150,000 to improve 3-D printing

A faculty member at the University of New Orleans has been awarded $150,000 by the Louisiana Board of Regents to research ways to improve and expand the use of 3-D printed products.

Damon Smith, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will research and explore additives for the raw material used in the printing with a goal of improving mechanical and optical properties of the products. These improvements could result in a wider range of applications and uses, according to a statement from the university.

The process of 3-D printing usually involves the arrangement of successive layers of material that form a solid object according to specifications contained in a digital file.

Fused filament fabrication uses thermoplastic filaments as feedstock for layer‐by‐layer assembly of parts and products. The 3-D printing platform is popular because of its wide availability and low cost, but its drawbacks include limitations on the applications for use of the products it generates, according to Smith.

Smith’s research will focus on the development of nano-particle additives that could enhance the function of products generated by the fused filament fabrication technique. 

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