International research partnership receives funding

The inaugural International Flagship Partnership Research Grant (IFPRG)—funded in partnership by the U of S and the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT)—was awarded to support an international collaboration aimed at removing contaminants from the environment.

On Oct. 20, Lee Wilson, associate professor of chemistry at the U of S, and Bo Wang, chemistry professor at BIT, were named co-recipients of the IFPRG funding for a joint project that will have the team investigating applications in contaminant absorption or volatile organic compound adsorption. Wilson and Wang will each receive $20,000 for the two-year project, which will begin January 2016.

The IFPRG agreement, explained Diane Martz, director of International Research and Partnerships at the U of S, was signed by the U of S and BIT in Dec 2014 to provide $100,000 for research-building activities to strengthen the partnership between the two institutions. The U of S and BIT each contributed $50,000 to the agreement. The funding competition will be held in each of the next three years.

"This is a perfect example of how this partnership can strengthen connections between our institutions and advance our respective areas of expertise," said Martz, who was in Beijing for the announcement. "It is a recognition that the issues we examine are not local, but now more than ever before our research has global application."

The U of S-BIT relationship began more than 15 years ago in 2000, becoming a flagship partnership in 2012. Since that time, faculty researchers from both institutions have engaged in collaborative work, including both research and artistic performance. The partners have exchanged graduate and undergraduate students and several BIT grads have joined the faculty at the U of S, while maintaining collaborative research ties in China.

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