As a land-grant university, the University of Idaho makes significant contributions to the state, region and nation, and I am proud to support and celebrate our strong research enterprise. Our research, scholarship and creative activities also cross international boundaries and involve amazing interactions between people from multiple nations.
In 2017 alone, nearly 320 students went abroad for study, research and internships; and more than 40 faculty members engaged in teaching and research overseas during that same year.
International collaborations bring our research enterprise to a higher level and provide unique opportunities to enhance research and training. This presents both new opportunities and challenges, some of which have been highlighted in the proceedings from recent workshops hosted by the National Academies: Examining Core Elements of International Research Collaboration and Culture Matters: International Research Collaboration in a Changing World.
Below, I highlight a small snapshot of the many ongoing international collaborations here at Idaho.
Professor Lisette Waits in the College of Natural Resources (CNR) and four U of I students currently are teaming up with counterparts at Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja in Ecuador to conduct environmental monitoring and social science research in the Loja watershed area of the Andes Mountains.
Faculty members Crystal Kolden (CNR) and John Abatzoglou in the College of Science are heading “Down Under” on sabbaticals to Australia, where they will work with University of Tasmania professor David Bowman, one of the world’s top fire ecologists, to study how wildfires become disasters and the factors contributing to their recent increases in severity.
This month, Professor Scott Slovic in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences and CNR presented the keynote lecture “Vernacular Approaches to Green Cultural Studies" at a conference on Ecology and Culture at Mohamed I University in Oujda, Morocco.
With the help of the Confucius Institute at the University of Idaho, Barry Bilderback of the Lionel Hampton School of Music is engaging with visiting scholar Yijin Wang from the South China University of Technology. The collaboration explores ties between Ghanaian and Chinese percussive musical patterns and their underlying symbolism in storytelling, featured in a fascinating storytelling performance in April: “A Musical Weaving of Silk and Kente Cloth.”
U of I researchers Richard Christensen and Robert Borrelli, with partners at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, secured a grant from the Idaho Department of Commerce that further develops the university’s partnership with the Japanese company Sakae Casting to design and manufacture aluminum-boron casks used to cool nuclear fuel.
There are many, many more ongoing international collaborations, and we are just beginning to scratch the surface of our potential to participate in global efforts to advance knowledge and economic opportunities.
To better understand our growing portfolio of international research and activities, the Office of Research and Economic Development, with the help of Faculty Fellow Scott Slovic, is launching an effort to gather information about “international research” currently taking place at (or in association with) the University of Idaho.
We are interested in understanding the broad landscape of how our faculty, staff and students interact on a global scale, including presentations at international conferences or academic institutions; field research or work in overseas laboratories or archives; international exhibitions; sponsored research through international agencies; support from programs (such as Fulbright) to conduct research overseas; publications in international journals; and projects involving international collaborators, whether at our campus, the collaborator’s home, or through “virtual” collaborations.
Please join me in fostering and celebrating productive international efforts that expand our thriving research enterprise in this increasingly interconnected world.
Janet E. Nelson
Research and Economic Development
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