One reason for his publishing success is UC’s commitment to research, Heineman said. UC is categorized nationally as a Research 1 university by the Carnegie Foundation. Research is a core mission of UC's strategic direction called Next Lives Here.
“Research is very important to this university. That’s the environment graduate students want to pursue their advanced degrees in chemistry. To do chemistry today requires a lot of expensive instrumentation and UC has the facilities,” Heineman said. “If you walk around this department, you find millions of dollars of investment.”
Heineman said he also established an early reputation of journal-worthy research that helped him win grants to continue his work, creating a feedback loop.
“Getting published helps you a lot. It shows you’re committed to doing the research and following through,” he said. “The publications help you get grants so you can support graduate students and hire postdocs to work on the projects. I’ve had large research groups in my career in part because I’ve had a lot of good ideas and the grant funding to work on them.”
Heineman said students work hard to get their work published in respected journals.
“Most of the research I’ve done over my 46-year career involves undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists,” Heineman said.
“Many of my projects have involved collaborations with other groups at UC in chemistry, engineering and the UC College of Medicine and at other universities, government labs and industry. So, grant funding, large research groups, collaborations with other research groups and many publications go hand in hand.”
Thomas Beck, UC’s head of chemistry, said Heineman’s work has helped attract new talent in the field of chemical sensing.
“In recent years, Bill Heineman has been instrumental in recruiting world-class faculty to the department,” Beck said. “So he has helped lay the groundwork for continued research excellence into the future.”
UC’s chemistry department sponsors a Research Experience for Undergraduates program with funding from the National Science Foundation. Each year, 10 undergraduates from across the country are invited to campus to work on research projects on a variety of topics with different faculty.
“Getting a grant is very competitive,” Heineman said. “It shows how committed we are to teaching undergraduates who to conduct research.”