awards and recognition
UTEP Led Workshop Carves Out International Collaborative Research Opportunities
September 30, 2016
Anupama Kaul, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies; Professor in ECE
Researchers across the United States studying graphene and 2D layered materials and devices now have the opportunity to collaborate with researchers in this field from the European Union (EU). The opportunity was announced in a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) put forth by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in July 2016. The DCL provides a mechanism for promoting collaborative partnerships between US-EU researchers in this field.
The DCL is a direct outcome of an international workshop on 2D layered materials and devices that was held in Arlington, Virginia in April 2015 and was led by the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). Professor Anupama Kaul, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and AT&T Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at UTEP, served as the US Chair of the Workshop.
The workshop produced a final report, which provided the NSF with recommendations on future directions in this area of research. One such recommendation was to enable funding mechanisms that will initiate greater engagement between US and EU researchers to help accelerate research progress in the field of 2D layered materials and devices. The EU is investing heavily in this area of research through the announcement of the Graphene Flagship in 2013, which is funded at the level of $1 Billion Euros from the EU Commission over ten years. The workshop served as a forum for leading researchers from the US and Europe to discuss research progress on 2D layered materials and address common challenges in this field.
"It's promising to see that UTEP is leading the way to help influence and carve out opportunities for promoting research in this area at the national and international level," Kaul said.
As a follow up from last year's inaugural event, another international workshop on 2D layered materials and devices will be held in October 2016 at the National Graphene Institute. The National Graphene institute is housed at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, which has long been a pioneer in this area of research through the engagement of Nobel Laureates Novoselov and Geim who reside there. This event is being organized by the University of Manchester and Prof. Kaul serves as the US Co-chair of this event, along with Prof. Jim Hwang from Lehigh University who is the US Chair.
The Nanomaterials and Devices Laboratory (NDL) (http://utep.edu/kaulgroup) which Kaul founded in 2015-2016 shortly upon her arrival to UTEP is actively engaged in research on 2D layered materials and their device applications. Gustavo Lara, a UTEP Ph.D. student in NDL, is one of seven students across the nation selected to attend this prestigious event in Manchester. He will be presenting a poster on his research, while Prof. Kaul will deliver an invited talk on research conducted on 2D layered materials and devices in NDL.
"Exposing students to cutting edge areas of interdisciplinary research such as this is vitally important for their career prospects so they can compete with their peers who are trained at larger universities," Kaul said.
Closer to the management of her own research lab and the need for greater global engagement, Kaul also selected an Electrical Engineering undergraduate student to conduct research in NDL. This student, Silvino Bastos, from the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), Salvador-State of Bahia, Brazil, was on an exchange program to UTEP from the "Science without Borders" program managed by the Brazilian Government. He spent one year at UTEP, and during the summer of 2016, Bastos worked in NDL with Prof. Kaul to develop automation systems for synthesizing nanomaterials. "I have learned much about nanomaterials with Dr. Kaul," said Bastos. "My academic expectations have grown immensely during my time at UTEP." UTEP generally has recognized the need for greater global engagement, which is in the same vein as the recently issued DCL by the NSF, for spurring international interactions between researchers and students.