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IGERT Trainees travel to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to participate in African Conferences


Profs. Eric Garfunkel and Jing Li from Rutgers University and seven PhD students participating in the NSF-funded Nanotechnology for Clean Energy IGERT program traveled to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe in December 2011 to attend the 6th International Conference of the Africa Materials Research. Prof. Garfunkel was Chair of the International Advisory Committee for the conference and in charge of the scientific program which included sessions on Materials for Energy and Sustainability; Materials for Life, Health and the Environment; Basic Materials and Nanoscience; Materials Technology, Processing and Metallurgy; Infrastructure Materials; and Materials Education and Networking.

The IGERT graduate students, PhD candidates in materials science and engineering, chemical engineering, physics and chemistry, presented their research to a diverse group of over 300 scientists from around the world. The IGERT trainees are participants in a collaborative program between Rutgers and Princeton University, led by Prof. Manish Chhowalla at Rutgers.

Address Goals

The above activity addresses the primary and secondary goals of NSF through the creation of globally attuned workforce that understands the challenges as well as the opportunities for clean energy technology development and implementation in Africa. Many of the students traveling to the AMRS meeting had never been to Africa and were not aware of the ongoing vibrant materials and energy related research activities there. The trainees and the faculty were able to interact, strengthen, and build new links with African collaborators. By getting a first view of the African infrastructure, the trainees were able to get first hand knowledge of African scientific infrastructure. The links built during the conference have provided a global perspective to the students.