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CAES associate director, Boise State faculty member tapped for INL joint appointment

portrait of David Estrada

David Estrada has been named Idaho National Laboratory’s Advanced Manufacturing Deputy Director for Academic Research.

A faculty member in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State University since 2013, Dr. Estrada’s new role calls for him to support and strengthen the Advanced Design and Manufacturing (ADM) initiative at INL and support multimission collaboration across the five INL directorates.

He will lead and cultivate the academic interactions and activities with the ADM initiative – enabling collaboration between industry and academia, and positioning INL at the forefront of the U.S. Department of Energy’s efforts to develop advanced reactor technology and strengthening the United States’ position as the global leader in nuclear energy technology.

Estrada will continue as the Center for Advanced Energy Studies associate director for Boise State, a position he has held since May 2019. Collaboration has been a hallmark of his tenure as CAES AD as he has amplified the university’s relationship with CAES and formalized the faculty and student-CAES community at Boise State through the creation of campus leads in each of the seven focus areas identified in the CAES Strategy. He championed the CAES Fellows initiative launched earlier this year and has helped lead Boise State students and faculty in a litany of accomplishments, including the award of three -Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) Infrastructure Awards and two Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) Fellowships.

Estrada’s leadership has been instrumental in the ongoing development of an advanced manufacturing suite at CAES, which will soon feature a new transmission electron microscope funded by INL and a 3D metal printer made possible by an NSUF-funded, Boise State-led project on which he is a collaborator. An additional benefit of the joint appointment is to provide a national recruiting tool for CAES entities to leverage when seeking to hire top talent to the region and enhance the advanced manufacturing workforce pipeline.

Estrada has been involved in several projects involving INL, including the In-Pile Instrumentation Program (I2) at the High Temperature Test Laboratory, an approximately $10 million DOE-funded program to develop novel sensors for in-situ measurements of field and materials properties in a nuclear reactor core; and Printed Sensors for Monitoring Reactor Health, a project led by industry partner Applied Nanotech that recently received a Phase I DOE award of $200,000 from the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Programs Office within the DOE Office of Science.

Estrada is a 2019 recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award for his work utilizing advanced manufacturing methods and materials to develop smart bio-scaffolds for musculoskeletal tissue engineering. His work has been recognized with the Gregory Stillman Semiconductor Research Award, John Bardeen Graduate Research Award, and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Innovator of the Year award, and he was named one of six 2019 National TRIO Achievers for contributions to his profession as a first-generation college student.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Estrada earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Boise State University and his master’s and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.