Xiaofeng Feng joins the 2019 Sloan class of 126 scientists from the United States and Canada.

Physics Assistant Professor Named UCF’s First Sloan Research Fellow

By: Zenaida Kotala on

Xiaofeng Feng has been named a Sloan Research Fellow, the first for the University of Central Florida.

The award recognizes early career scientists that demonstrate high promise. Past Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to do big things. Collectively they have received 47 Nobel Prizes, 17 Fields Medals in mathematics, 69 National Medals of Science and 18 John Bates Clark Medals in economics.

“It is a great and humbling honor to receive the Sloan Research Fellowship as a recognition of my research efforts at this stage in my career,” Feng says. “Being named a Sloan Research Fellow is a strong encouragement to my research efforts and interests in electrocatalysis at UCF. The fellowship has provided me the confidence to pursue my goals in tackling scientific challenges on renewable energy conversion.”

Feng joins the 2019 Sloan class of 126 scientists from the United States and Canada. Feng will receive a two-year $70,000 fellowship to further his research. The best part, the money has only one restriction — it must help advance his work.

“Sloan Research Fellows are the best young scientists working today,” says Adam F. Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Sloan fellows stand out for their creativity, for their hard work, for the importance of the issues they tackle and the energy and innovation with which they tackle them. To be a Sloan Research Fellow is to be in the vanguard of 21st century science.”

The recognition is no surprise to Eduardo Mucciolo, the chair of UCF’s Physics Department. He nominated Feng for the award.

“We are extremely happy for Dr. Feng. He is a very talented individual with great ideas and a solid track record,” Mucciolo says. “The Sloan Research Fellowship is a significant achievement. It is only awarded to the top, most promising junior faculty. Often only faculty in top-tier institutions receive this fellowship. The fact that we finally have a Sloan Research Fellow among our faculty is remarkable. It shows that UCF is now able to attract junior faculty of the highest caliber.”

Feng established his lab at UCF in 2016. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms and developing efficient catalysts for electrochemical energy conversion, which plays a key role in renewable energy technologies. Last year, his work gained national attention for its potential to help increase food productivity.

Feng has multiple degrees including a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, and he was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University before joining UCF. He is also part of the Energy Conversion and Propulsion Faculty Cluster.

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