CORVALLIS, Ore. - Belinda Batten, head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University, will be the new director of the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center beginning in July.

Established in 2008, the center is a partnership between OSU and the University of Washington, one of three of its type in the nation, with work at OSU focused on wave energy and the University of Washington on tidal energy. Among its activities are testing new technologies, monitoring, doing research on technical, environmental and social effects, education, helping to inform policy development, and public outreach.

Its work is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, state of Oregon, Oregon Wave Energy Trust, and other private and public agencies.

"It's clear to me that marine energy has a great potential to contribute significantly to the nation's renewable energy portfolio," Batten said. "I'm absolutely convinced that this center is the place for research and development to help the industry develop in a responsible manner. The combination of our outstanding faculty at OSU and the University of Washington, combined with our great facilities, is par none."

Batten, a professor in the field of dynamics and control, is now doing research on novel autonomous air vehicles, and optimization and control of wave energy devices. She received her doctorate from Clemson University in mathematical sciences and has been at OSU since 2003.

"Dr. Batten has helped the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering achieve amazing progress on multiple fronts, ranging from breakthrough research results to award-winning student teams and significant impacts on society," said Ronald Adams, dean of the OSU College of Engineering. "She is ideally suited to lead one of OSU's highest visibility research centers."

A national search will be held to fill Batten's position, officials said, and an interim head will be appointed for the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, to begin July 1. Robert Paasch, the current director of the marine energy center, will continue his research in this field and his OSU position as the Boeing Professor of Mechanical Engineering Design. 

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Belinda Batten, 541-737-9492