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July 1, 2024

Two Spartans named ARPA-E Early-Career Innovators

$1 million to advance research by Woongkul Lee and Jinxing Li

Two researchers in the Michigan State University College of Engineering have been named Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Early-Career Innovators and will receive $1 million for breakthrough transitions in clean energy.

Woongkul Lee, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Jinxing Li, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, are among 23 selected for the Inspiring Generations of New Innovators to Impact Technologies in Energy 2024 (IGNIITE 2024). The program focuses on early-career scientists and engineers converting disruptive ideas into impactful energy technologies.

Professional Headshot of Woongkul (Matt) Lee
Woongkul Lee

Woongkul Lee

The objective of Lee’s research is to develop an optically powered ultra-high-speed wound-field synchronous generator for uncrewed aircraft. The generator will be integrated with an optical encoder for position estimation to maximize its power density, reliability, and power handling capability. Project: Optically Powered Ultra-high-Speed (OPUS) Wound-Field Synchronous Generators – Award Amount: $500,000

Jinxing Li

Li aims to reduce carbon emissions associated with both building materials and construction methods through 3D robotic bioprinting of biogenic concrete structures to create next-generation sustainable and intelligent buildings. Project: Robotic 3D Bioprinting of Entire Building Structures Using Biogenic Concrete – Award Amount: $500,000

Professional Headshot of Jinxing Li
Jinxing Li

“We need an infusion of unconventional ideas from the next generation of researchers, entrepreneurs, and technologists to tackle energy challenges of today,” said ARPA-E Director Evelyn N. Wang. “As an engineer who benefited from support early on in my career, I know how instrumental resourcing and expert guidance is to successful innovation. By supporting this cohort of early-career innovators, I am confident that we are one step closer to a sustainable clean energy future.”

Participants in IGNIITE 2024 will be honored on July 9, 2024, at the National Academies in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about IGNIITE 2024 and this year’s Early-Career Innovators here.

College of Engineering Media and Public Relations page