Nanotechnology Education for the Global World: Training the Leaders of Tomorrow


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Nanoscience is one of the fastest growing and most impactful fields in global scientific research. In order to support the continued development of nanoscience and nanotechnology, it is important that nanoscience education be a top priority to accelerate research excellence. In this Nano Focus, we discuss current approaches to nanoscience training and propose a learning design framework to promote the next generation of nanoscientists. Prominent among these are the abilities to communicate and to work across and between conventional disciplines. While the United States has played leading roles in initiating these developments, the global landscape of nanoscience calls for worldwide attention to this educational need. Recent developments in emerging nanoscience nations are also discussed. Photo credit: Jae Hyeon Park.

Education has long been recognized as an important factor for growing the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology and solidifying and expanding their roles in the global economy. In many countries, there is growing interest in developing educational programs across the full spectrum of educational levels from K-12 to postgraduate studies.

Various formal and informal educational practices are being designed and tested that promote general awareness of nanoscience and nanotechnology as well as provide advanced learning and skills development, including through group learning and peer assessment”In their article, the authors discuss innovative learning models that are being applied at the undergraduate level in order to train future leaders at the interface of engineering and management.

students running nanoscience experiments

Middle and high school students spend time at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA running nanoscience experiments. High school teachers from over 100 schools and 30 school districts are trained, networked to one another, and supplied with kits for their classrooms. Graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff run, expand, and improve these fully subscribed outreach events on a continuous basis. (© American Chemical Society)

While thee programs are not strictly focused on nanotechnology, many graduates pursue nanotechnology-focused careers and they provide examples of important factors that should be considered in the nanotechnology field.Moreover, they represent the growing trend of holistic learning, which integrates coursework across disciplines, promotes foreign experiences, and encourages industrial internships.

Here is the set of recommendations they make:

Inspire Students To Envision What Is or Could Be Possible

Possibilities include a greater focus on nanotechnology applications in courses or hands-on laboratory experiences that tie in with class concepts. Even before reaching the classroom, students should have positive views of nanoscience and the potential it holds. Successful learning practices start with capturing the imagination of students. Communicating the remarkable features of nanoscience in a simple and clear way to the mainstream public would go a long way toward achieving this goal.

Promote Role Models Who Impact Society

From an educational perspective, the tech world is a particularly good example because successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg, and Mark Zuckerberg have captured the public audience and inspired countless students to think beyond the classroom. In nanotechnology, similar role models can inspire students with the many opportunities available in the field.

Encourage Global Collaboration

Nanotechnology research and development is truly global. Early exposure to these trends will better inform students about career opportunities and give them ideas about how to work together in teams across disciplines and cultures. A growing number of partnerships already provide international experiences for nanoscience and nanotechnology students.

Support Early Exposure Inside and Outside of the Laboratory

For many students, nanoscience and nanotechnology are about working in a lab doing scientific research. While this activity is common, its generalization could not be farther from the truth. There are many possible ways to get involved in nanotechnology, from instructional education and hands-on training to entrepreneurship and manufacturing.Holistic approaches that integrate these different possibilities, while providing targeted career development, would greatly benefit students and the overall goals of nanotechnology education. Developing a strong workforce infrastructure for nanotechnology

Communication Across Fields

Stressing the importance of communication, the authors conclude:

“Finally, one of the great strengths of the nanoscience and nanotechnology communities is that we have taught each other how to communicate across fields, to look at and to leverage each other’s approaches, and to address the key issues of a multitude of fields.

As a field, we are increasingly viewed as problem solvers in science and technology, developing new tools, materials, methods, and opportunities. Bringing this aspect of our field to students (and scientists and engineers at all levels) will have significant impact on the world around us and our ability to make it better.”

By Michael Berger. © Nanowerk

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University of Alberta Joins Materials Research Society (MRS)


Nanotubes imagesMaterials science and nanotechnology students at the University of Alberta have recently joined more than 70 universities across the world in becoming members of the internationally known Materials Research Society (MRS).

The newly established MRS chapter at the U of A is the first in Canada and will set an example for other universities in the country to follow, according to its founding member.

Rokib Hassan, PhD student and president of the U of A MRS chapter, said it’s becoming increasingly important for students to get involved with these global organizations, as they help foster a sense of leadership in their fields.

“What happens is the (students can) boost their research and commit to working with the materials research or nanotechnology communities,” he said.

“They’re trying to create a field or a platform for their students, so that they can become more passionate to pursue their interests or their research in the areas of materials research or nanotechnology.”

The idea to establish a chapter at the U of A came to Hassan when he travelled to Cancun for an MRS conference and saw the types of schools that were represented — some of the largest, most prestigious American universities had established chapters, he said, but no Canadian schools.

“I was quite shocked when I went there,” Hassan said. “I started thinking, ‘Why not from Canada?’ We are just beside the U.S., and if the U.S. are leading all the (research), why not Canada?”

Hassan said when he began the process of founding the U of A chapter, he received positive responses from the community, quickly gathering interested undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members in a matter of weeks.

Going forward, the new chapter aims to host its own symposium next year, and eventually create undergraduate funding and a summer research program. Hassan said the chapter, like the ever-changing fields of nanotechnology and materials science, is looking to build the future.

“In the future, everything is coming up to the materials science and nanotechnology, if you think about making all the devices for your iPhone or smartphone,” he said.“Everything is coming into the materials science and nanotechnology (area).”

Water 2.0 2013 Water Management And Nano Energy Summit


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2013 Water Management And Nano Energy Summit : November 13 & 14, 2013

Rice University – Shell Auditorium Jones Graduate School of Business Rice University 6100 Main Street Houston, Texas 77005

THE SUMMIT is a gathering of the world’s leading experts who are generating cutting-edge technological solutions for challenges in the water and energy sectors.

Produced in partnership with the Water Innovations Alliance, WATER 2.0, the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association, the Rice Alliance, and the Smalley Institute at Rice University, THE SUMMIT will feature prominent speakers from industry, government, finance and academia. THE SUMMIT will address state-of-the-art innovative solutions to decades-old problems in the water and oil and gas sectors. These pioneering technologies are emerging rapidly into the market thanks to revolutionary breakthroughs in material science, nanoscience and computational power.

For Full Details, Sponsors, Presenters and Exhibitors, go here: http://www.nanoevent.org/

 

 

 

Since 2009, Vincent Caprio’s Blog EVOLVING INNOVATIONS has addressed issues on Science & Technology.

About The Water Innovations Alliance Foundation The Water Innovations Alliance Foundation is focused on educating the public and key stakeholders as to new developments in fresh and waste water technologies. The Foundation works to gather data, develop reports, standards, economic analysis, and model training programs for advancing the development and deployment of new water technologies.

The Water Innovations Alliance Foundation is located in Cambridge, MA and Shelton, CT. It is a 501(c)(3) organization that works in conjunction with the Water Innovations Alliance. The Foundation was launched in Spring 2009. It is undertaking a series of initiatives to advance the understanding of new opportunities, technologies, and best practices for the water field.

To learn more about the Foundation and its membership, contact Vincent Caprio, vince@waterinnovationsfoundation.org

Making the Most of Big Data


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Aiming to make the most of the explosion of Big Data and the tools needed to analyze it, the Obama Administration announced a “National Big Data Research and Development Initiative” on March 29, 2012.  To launch the initiative, six Federal departments and agencies announced more than $200 million in new commitments that, together, promise to greatly improve and develop the tools, techniques, and human capital needed to move from data to knowledge to action.   The Administration is also working to “liberate” government data and voluntarily-contributed corporate data to fuel entrepreneurship, create jobs, and improve the lives of Americans in tangible ways.

As we enter the second year of the Big Data Initiative, the Administration is encouraging multiple stakeholders including federal agencies, private industry, academia, state and local government, non-profits, and foundations, to develop and participate in Big Data innovation projects across the country. Later this year, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), NSF, and other agencies in the Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD) program plan to convene an event that highlights high-impact collaborations and identifies areas for expanded collaboration between the public and private sectors.  The Administration is particularly interested in projects and initiatives that:

  • Advance technologies that support Big Data and data analytics;
  • Educate and expand the Big Data workforce;
  • Develop, demonstrate and evaluate applications of Big Data that improve key outcomes in economic growth, job creation, education, health, energy, sustainability, public safety, advanced manufacturing, science and engineering, and global development;
  • Demonstrate the role that prizes and challenges can play in deriving new insights from Big Data; and
  • Foster regional innovation.

Please submit a two-page summary of projects to BIGDATA@nsf.gov.  The summary should identify:

  1. The goal of the project, with metrics for evaluating the success or failure of the project;
  2. The multiple stakeholders that will participate in the project and their respective roles and responsibilities;
  3. Initial financial and in-kind resources that the stakeholders are prepared to commit to this project; and
  4. A principal point of contact for the partnership.

The submission should also indicate whether the NSF can post the project description to a public website.  This announcement is posted solely for information and planning purposes; it does not constitute a formal solicitation for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements.

Deadline Date for Submission of Summaries: April 22, 2013