Getting to the bottom line of a complex set of interlinked programs and initiatives, it’s safe to say that a group of US students went to study with research Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) in the first Materials Research School which was held Dec. 9 -21, 2012.
Rutgers University (New Jersey, US) student Aleksandra Biedron attended the Materials Research School as a member of a joint Rutgers University-Princeton University Nanotechnology for Clean Energy graduate training program (one of the US National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship [IGERT] programs).
In a Summer 2013 (volume 14) issue of Rutgers University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology News, Biedron describes the experience,
The program brought together approximately 50 graduate students and early-career materials researchers from across the United States and East Africa, as well as 15 internationally recognized instructors, for two weeks of lectures, problem solving, and cultural exchange. “I was interested in meeting young African scientists to discuss energy materials, a universal concern, which is relevant to my research in ionic liquids,” said Biedron, a graduate of Livingston High School [Berkeley Heights, New Jersey]. “I was also excited to see Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and experience the culture and historical attractions.”
A cornerstone of the Nanotechnology for Clean Energy IGERT program is having the students apply their training in a dynamic educational exchange program with African institutions, promoting development of the students’ global awareness and understanding of the challenges involved in global scientific and economic development. In Addis Ababa, Biedron quickly noticed how different the scope of research was between the African scientists and their international counterparts.
“The African scientists’ research was really solution-based,” said Biedron. “They were looking at how they could use their natural resources to solve some of their region’s most pressing issues, not only for energy, but also health, clean water, and housing. You don’t really see that as much in the U.S. because we are already thinking about the future, 10 or 20 years from now.”
I found a little more information about the first Materials Research School on this Columbia University JUAMI (Joint US-Africa Materials Initiative) webpage,
The Joint US-Africa Materials Initiative
Announces its first Materials Research School
To be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, December 9-21, 2012
Theme of the school:
The first school will concentrate on materials research for sustainable energy. Tutorials and seminar topics will range from photocatalysis and photovoltaics to fuel cells and batteries.
Goals of the school:
The initiative aims to build materials science research and collaborations between the United States and Africa, with an initial focus on East Africa, and to develop ties between young materials researchers in both regions in a school taught by top materials researchers. The school will bring together approximately 50 PhD and early career materials researchers from across the US and East Africa, and 15 internationally recognized instructors, for two weeks of lectures, problem solving and cultural exchange in historic Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Topics include photocatalysis, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, fuel cells, and batteries.
I also found this on the IGERT homepage,
IGERT Trainees participate in:
- Interdisciplinary courses in the fundamentals of energy technology, nanotechnology and energy policy.
- Dissertation research emphasizing nanotechnology and energy.
- Dynamic educational exchange between U.S. and select African institutions.