Purdue-Mexico center workshop to map connections, plans

April 26, 2013  

The new Purdue-Mexico Center for Sustainability will present its initial workshop, supported by an incentive award from the Global Policy Research Institute, on Monday and Tuesday (April 29-30).

The goal of the workshop, for which attendance is by invitation, is to identify existing education and research collaborations, immediate opportunities and assessment of Purdue’s strengths in each area, including activities in both academic departments and Discovery Park. Following on this workshop, one in Mexico City also will advance the matching of Purdue strengths to prominent Mexican institutions for building strong and lasting collaborations.

The center's director is Arvind Varma, the R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor and Jay and Cynthia Ihlenfeld Head of Chemical Engineering. The associate director is Enrico Martinez, visiting professor in the School of Chemical Engineering.

They and Arvind Raman, professor of mechanical engineering, drafted a proposal for the center after some envisioning conversations in fall 2011. About 25 faculty members, meeting in spring 2012, engaged in a planning process. In summer 2012, a formal proposal went to the Office of the Provost, which in January approved it and provided seed funds.

A primary center activity will be to attract Mexican graduate students, postdoctoral associates, faculty members and other researchers for education and collaborative research at Purdue. Funding will be sought from agencies in both countries and international agencies such as the Organization of American States.

A goal for the center is to develop education and research programs where, in addition to rigorous and relevant coursework, students learn entrepreneurial skills and conduct research in interdisciplinary teams, leading to a workforce that can compete in the global market. Finally, economic development opportunities for the State of Indiana will be an important goal as the center grows and industrial collaborators engage in the center activities.

For additional information about the workshop or the center, contact the conference coordinator, Cristina Farmus, at cfarmus@purdue.edu.

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