Sihong Wang receives 2021 Young Investigator Award from Office of Naval Research

The Office of Naval research has named Asst. Prof. Sihong Wang as a recipient of the 2021 Young Investigator Program (YIP). As a recipient, he will receive a $510,000 grant to help fund his research on soft electronic materials and devices.

“I am excited and deeply honored,” Wang said of being named a recipient. “It’s a highly competitive and very prestigious award from a major federal funding agency. A number of very successful researchers have come out of this program and it’s an honor to follow their path.”

Established in 1985, the Young Investigator Program is one of the nation’s oldest and most selective basic-research, early-career awards in science and technology. Its purpose is to fund tenure-track academic researchers, or equivalent, whose scientific pursuits show outstanding promise for supporting the Department of Defense, while also promoting their professional development.

Chief of Naval Research, Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby said that “it is essential that we attract the best and brightest scientists and engineers from across academia,” adding that this year’s Young Investigator Program recipients exemplify this objective.

Wang and his team develop biomimetic polymer electronics, skin-like electronics that can be integrated seamlessly with human biology or used in soft robotics. In human applications, such devices would impact patient monitoring, medication therapies, implantable medical devices, and biological studies. In robotics, biomimetic polymer electronics can provide sophisticated sensory information. His lab is currently developing a multimodal sensor that can differentiate objects by touch. Such a sensor would allow soft robots to recognize texture and other physical stimuli.  

Wang will use the funds to support graduate students and to further his work on stretchable sensors and neuromorphic sensor development.