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GRA positions

A graduate student’s principal objective is to earn a graduate degree. Appointment as a Graduate Research Associate (GRA) contributes to that objective by providing an apprenticeship experience along with financial support. This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student practical, personal experience that can be gained only by performing research activities.

GRA positions provide a number of benefits to the student:

  • Full payment of tuition and academic fees,
  • A monthly stipend typically provided on a 12 month cycle,
  • 85% payment of OSU Student Health Insurance premiums for the student,
  • Payment of computer technology fee as well as laboratory fees,
  • Payment of research-related expenses,
  • Travel costs for conference and research-related expenses may also be provided,
  • Total value of this package can be over $70,000 per year.
  • Further information about GRA appointments and benefits.

[Students are responsible for 15% of health insurance premiums as well as student-related fees. These fees total roughly $120 per month. This amount is payroll-deducted per monthly pay over the course of a four-month semester so that the student does not need to pay a large up-front fee each term.]

In exchange for these benefits the student serves on a research project available in the program. As part of the GRA agreement, the student agrees to assist his/her advisor with research work. This commitment comes to, on average, approximately 20 hours per week, though this may vary from time to time. The research project Principal Investigator will serve as the student's academic and research advisor. More about finding an advisor, below.

Please note: Since research carried out for a government and/or industrial organization is usually focused on a topic of concern to the funding source, we cannot guarantee that a student's area of interest will always match the available GRA positions for a given term.

The GRA position is our primary form of financial aid [more about financial aid in the MSE-WE department].

Current GRA openings

Due to the on-going nature of funding, new openings for Autumn (August) 2020 semester will soon be posted below. We anticipate 15-25 funded openings for the Fall in areas such as:

  • additive manufacturing
  • nanotechnology
  • electronic, optical, and magnetic materials
  • biomaterials
  • joining/welding technology
  • environmental and energy storage materials
  • emergent materials
  • advanced characterization
  • computational materials research
  • corrosion studies and corrosion prevention
  • membranes for chemical technology
  • sensor technology
  • materials manufacture
  • composites
  • processing and structure-property relationships in structural materials

Last update: 7/1/20--GRA-funded projects will be posted here as they continue to be available.

Sheikh Akbar

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-6725 | Office: 295 Watts Hall

  • Professor, (Ph.D., Purdue University, 1985); Synthesis-microstructure-property relations of ceramic bulk, thin-film and nanostructures for electrochemical devices such as sensors and biomedical applications

1 MS (US citizen), funding confirmed
2 PhD (with Dr. Patricia Morris), any citizenship, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

  1. Fundamental studies of gas-solid interaction on nano-hetero-structure oxide surfaces (1 PhD student)
  2. Laser-solid interaction on nano-hetero-structure oxide surfaces (1 PhD student)
  3. High-temperature (>1200 C) catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (1 MS student; US citizen only)

Please contact Dr. Akbar for details on these projects.

Sheikh Akbar & Enam Chowdhury (joint project)

Sheikh Akbar: web & email | Phone: 614-292-6725 | Office: 295 Watts Hall

  • Professor, (Ph.D., Purdue University, 1985); Synthesis-microstructure-property relations of ceramic bulk, thin-film and nanostructures for electrochemical devices such as sensors and biomedical applications

Enam Chowdhury: web & email | Phone: 614-292-4286

  • Assistant Professor, (Ph.D., University of Delaware, 2004); Laser materials processing; Ultrafast laser; Laser damage and ablation; Laser plasma particle acceleration; High and ultra-high intensity laser technology; Warm dense matter; Laser surface engineering

Please contact Drs. Akbar and Chowdhury for details on their joint research project.

Vicky Doan-Nguyen

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3465 | Office: 100 CEMAS

Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2015); Electrochemical energy storage Battery components; Sustainability; Advanced electron microscopy and X-ray scattering characterization techniques; Synthesis, characterization, and functional testing of novel materials for electrochemical energy storage applications and heterogeneous catalysis. [more about Dr. Doan-Nguyen's research]


4/28/20--Dr. Doan-Nguyen's GRA slots below have been filled.

1 PhD position, MSE, funding confirmed

Nanomaterials for next generation high-energy density battery cathodes 
This project involves the design, synthesis, characterization, and electrochemical testing of nanomaterials for next generation high-energy density battery cathodes. The student will develop technical and scientific expertise in all aspects of battery materials design. The project has an industry partner, and thus, the student will also have the opportunity to lead industry-university type partnership. 

1 PhD position, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

Design of quantum materials 
This project involves the synthesis and characterization of materials with exotic quantum states. The student will develop technical and scientific expertise in solid state synthesis, synchrotron-based and neutron scattering-based structural characterization, electron microscopy, and automated materials screening for developing new materials with exotic quantum properties. 

1 PhD position, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

Operando characterization of nanoparticle catalysts 
This project involves designing and executing operando characterization of metal oxide nanoparticle catalysts for heterogeneous catalysis. The student will develop technical and scientific expertise in nanomaterials synthesis and advanced characterization with synchrotron and neutron scattering. The student will be a part of a larger project and will interface with catalysis engineers, and thus, there will opportunities for developing technical and scientific expertise in heterogeneous catalysis and renewable energy applications. 

Carolin Fink

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-7823 | Office: 132 EJTC

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany); Research interests include weld cracking and materials degradation phenomena, in particular elevated temperature cracking and liquid metal embrittlement, welding metallurgy and weldability of nickel-base alloys, welding of dissimilar materials and weldability testing. 

1-2 PhD positions, WE or MSE, funding confirmed

Please contact Dr. Fink for details regading these openings.

Jinwoo Hwang

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3459 | Office: 111 CEMAS

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Un of Wisconsin, 2011); Structure-property relationship in functional materials (oxide interfaces, semiconductors, solar cells); structure and deformation of disordered materials.

FILLED--1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed

Title: Atomic scale Debye-Waller thermometry of Thermal Interface Resistance at Oxide Interfaces

Description: The student will investigate the atomic scale structure and thermal properties of oxide interfaces using quantitative scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), and verify existing theories on thermal conduction at the interfaces. The project involves oxide interfaces, thermal properties of interfaces, STEM, defect analysis, and computational simulation of STEM. Will also involve some phonon theory. Collaboration with DFT people and oxide growers. 

John Lannutti

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-3926 | Office: 448 MacQuigg Labs

  • Professor (Ph.D., University of Washington, 1990); Biomaterials for cancer research. Bio-nanosensing for disease detection. Smart tissue engineering scaffolds.

2 MS or PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

Topic: Biosensors for monitoring disease or injury

We seek to understand the behavior and sensing capabilities of injectable constructs both in vitro and in vivo in a collaborative project involving industry. This includes sensor fabrication, SEM analysis of microstructure versus exposure and working with large amounts of experimental data.

Background required: Excellent experimental and chemical skills and good writing capabilities a plus. Comfort in working with animals desired but not necessary. Prior experience with large datasets helpful. Good time management skills will be very helpful.

Jenifer Locke

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-5868 | Office 490 WA

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., University of Virginia); Corrosion and environmental fracture/cracking of metals and alloys, thermo-mechanical processing effects on corrosion and environmental cracking.

FILLED--4/6/20--1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed

Topic: Evaluating differences in corrosion fatigue resistance of Al alloys through crack tip pH measurements


Alan Luo

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-5629

  • Professor (Ph.D., University of Windsor, 1993); advanced metallic materials for transportation applications, manufacturing processes for light metals (Al, Mg, Ti), solidification, and integrated computational materials engineering.

1 PhD position, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

Topic: Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) for Lightweight Materials and Manufacturing 

This project will look at three aspects of the modeling of lightweight materials and their production: 1) material design and development using computational tools (e.g., CALPHAD and kinetic modeling); 2) metals processing and simulation (e.g., casting/forming process modeling and microstructure modeling); and 3) structure-processing-property-performance and ICME.


David McComb

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3462 | Office: CEMAS Facility

  • Professor and Ohio Research Scholar (Ph.D. Cambridge University, 1990), Director, Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis; Electron microscopy & spectroscopy; electronic materials; magnetic materials; functional oxides; energy materials; biomaterials.

The McComb group is a highly-collaborative and multidisciplinary environment focused on the development and application of state-of-the-art electron microscopy methods to tackle major challenges in a wide range of materials. Currently we have projects in 2D materials, oxide materials for spintronics, magnetic materials, materials for energy, biomaterials and semiconducting materials. McComb Group projects are typically collaborative with advisors in other disciplines, with students often working in a team.

FILLED--1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed

"Investigation of the Dentin-Enamel junction using Dual Beam Focused Ion Beam (FIB) and Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM)"

The dentin–enamel junction (DEJ) is the zone between two distinct calcified tissues with very different biome-chanical properties. Generally, interfaces between materials with dissimilar mechanical properties represent “weak links” in a structure. However, the DEJ plays a critical role in enhancing biomechanical integrity and resistance to fracture. The DEJ is not well characterized microstructurally. In a collaboration with Prof Bartlett (College of Dentistry) you will investigate the structure-property correlate in the DEJ as influence by genomic modifications to determine hoe the properties of this unique interface arise and are modified.

Background: Interest in characterization and biomaterials

Roberto Myers

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-8439 | Office: 476 Watts Hall | Myers Group

  • Professor, (Ph.D., University of California Santa Barbara, 2006); Electronic materials, optical materials, wide bandgap semiconductors.

1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

Topic: Thermal spintronics and magonics 

We are motivated by possible new applications in spin-based electronics and the recovery of heat energy for powering spin-devices. Magnetic materials are being developed within our group and with a greater collaboration through the NSF-MRSEC at OSU to generate new phases of matter where spins and magnons exhibit long lifetimes and can travel long distances sufficient to consider their use in quantum information technology. We use focused laser excitation to generate localized heating and map out spin and magnon diffusion in these new materials using optical and electronic probes of spin transport. 

New 4/30/20--2 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

Topic: Semiconductor-on-Metallic-Alloys (SOMAs) 

The objective of this project is to advance the fundamental understanding of epitaxial growth of III-Nitride nanowires on metallic substrates in order to enable flexible and reconfigurable optoelectronics. Control of the self-assembly of active nanostructures will be developed using plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) combined with metallic alloy microstructure engineering and characterization.

The three technical goals are to:

  • Control nanowire self-assembly and geometry by lattice-matching to metallic alloys
  • Guide self-assembly of hierarchical nanowire ensembles using self-patterned substrates
  • Mechanically reconfigure/tune optoelectronic properties of nanowire ensembles 

Background: Electronic materials, semiconductors, quantum mechanics 

Siddharth Rajan

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-247-7922 | Office: 205 Dreese Labs

Associate Professor (Ph.D., Un of California, Santa Barbara, 2006); Electronic materials

FILLED--1 MS or PhD position, MSE, funding confirmed

Title: "Wide band gap semiconductor materials and devices" Research on wide and ultra-wide band gap semiconductors for high performance devices. 

Eric Schindelholz

Contact: web, email, & phone

Associate Professor (Ph.D., Un of California, Santa Barbara, 2006); Electronic materials

NEW 4/16/20-- 2  PhD positions, MSE, funding confirmed:

  • Corrosion of Additively Manufactured Structural Alloys--This program examines how powder-based laser fusion additive processing impacts the microstructure and corrosion performance of structural alloys. 
  • Atmospheric Corrosion Mechanisms--This program will seek to elucidate atmospheric corrosion damage mechanisms by examining the interplay between the chemistry of microscopic electrolyte volumes on atmospherically exposed surfaces, the electrochemical processes driving corrosion and material microstructure. 

Background: undergrad major in chemistry, chemical engineering, physics or materials science 

Wolfgang Windl

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-247-6900 

Professor (D.Sc., University of Regensburg, 1995); Computational Materials Science, Multiscale Modeling, Semiconductor Process Simulation

FILLED--2 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

Two topics: "2D Materials / Layered Materials with Unusual Functional Properties" and "Surface Processes: Corrosion and Field Emission"

These projects involve atomistic modeling, mostly based on first-principles density-functional theory, to find new materials with superior properties. On the 2D/layered material side, we look for novel electronic properties (e.g. super-fast electron transport), goniopolar transport (electrons that can turn into holes, or in-between charge transport, depending on the conduction direction), and 2D magnetism. On the surface side, we try to understand the physics happening in characterization methods such as atom probe tomography, and to understand what makes a material corrosion resistant and how to design systems with superior corrosion resistant. All projects involve strong collaborations with experimental groups. 

Required background: Strong interest in computational materials science and high-performance computing. 

Finding an advisor

For newly admitted students:

The MSE dept. does not assign new students to an advisor; instead, we ask that you meet with each of the faculty who have openings. The professor you work with will act as your academic and research advisor during your graduate studies at Ohio State.

Above, please find the list of available funded research positions. Please meet first with faculty who have openings in your area(s) of interest. If, after meeting with these professors, you do not have an advisor, please meet with the remaining faculty on the list who have openings and come to an agreement to work with one of these faculty. Important: You are required to find an advisor from the funded openings available in the department. This should occur during your first term of enrollment.

You are strongly encouraged to contact any faculty member above who shares your field of interest. Contacting the faculty prior to your arrival on campus can help speed your placement on a research project.

Every effort is made to match you with a project in your field of interest. However, we have only a few positions, each of which has a narrow research focus. Therefore, you may find that the area of research you will be working in is not an exact match with your interests.

When you have found an advisor, inform the department Human Resources Officer in 176 Watts Hall and Mark Cooper in 5027 Smith Labs.