HOUSTON -- (Sept. 21, 2010) -- Rice University's award-winning undergraduate summer research program NanoJapan will soon expand, thanks to a new five-year, $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
NanoJapan, which is open to students from all U.S. universities, combines a traditional study-abroad experience in Japan with a targeted undergraduate research internship in nanotechnology. The program was created in 2005 with funding from the NSF's Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) initiative, which awarded a new five-year grant this month for continued support of the program.
"The status of the United States in science and engineering is changing," said NanoJapan founder Junichiro Kono, professor in electrical and computer engineering and of physics and astronomy at Rice.
"More and more people outside the U.S. are doing cutting-edge research," said Kono, the principal investigator on the NanoJapan grant. "Graduate students today are more likely to succeed if they are prepared to work in a cross-cultural, multinational environment, and that is one area where NanoJapan is particularly successful."
Kono and NanoJapan co-principal investigator Cheryl Matherly, assistant provost for global education at the University of Tulsa, said NanoJapan is unique, in part, because it targets freshmen and sophomores.
"Most programs like this target juniors, seniors and graduate students," said Matherly, who co-founded NanoJapan while serving as assistant dean of students for career and international education at Rice. "Our idea was that we wanted to touch students at a point when there was still time that they could do something with this information."
Kono goes to great lengths to ensure that every NanoJapan student intern -- 16 each summer -- has a successful research experience. Kono personally visits each host lab prior to the students' arrival. He also gets weekly reports from ea
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