Wednesday, March 13, 2013

‘Reverse Rhodes Scholarship’ Established for Engineering

Durham, NC is a place with many diverse cultural opportunities and people, attributes driven, in part, by the two universities here.  Today, Duke University made an announcement that will give top engineers from across the world will a new reason to come and study here.

Duke and North Carolina State universities, along with six other U.S. institutions, today announced the establishment of a new scholarship program designed to bring international graduate students to the U.S. to further their research.

The program, known as the Vest Scholarships, is named after the outgoing National Academy of Engineering (NAE) President Charles M. Vest. The announcement was made at the inaugural Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS) in London. The new scholarship program will foster international collaborations among graduate students whose studies are focused on tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Participating universities are conducting research toward addressing the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering™, 14 “game-changing” goals with the potential to dramatically improve life in the 21st century, as identified by a blue-ribbon committee of leading technological thinkers and doers. The challenges are also the inspiration for the GGCS.

In addition to Duke and NC State, the schools participating are the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Olin College, University of Southern California, University of Washington, Illinois Institute of Technology, and MIT.

“This is like a reverse Rhodes Scholarship,” said Tom Katsouleas, dean of Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering. “It gives select international graduate students the opportunity to pursue potentially world-changing ideas at top U.S. universities.

“We hope that the Vest Scholarships will grow and become a highly valued platform for international collaboration -- specifically that the students will carry the pollen of potent ideas from continent to continent with them and back again, strengthening international relationships in order to advance progress in some of our most critical global challenges,” Katsouleas said.

In the first year, students from schools attending the Global Grand Challenges Summit will be eligible to apply for the scholarships. In later years, the program will be expanded to additional schools. Students who are chosen will receive an expense-paid year to pursue research opportunities related to the grand challenges at one of those institutions.

“The grand challenges can’t be met by one group of people in one field. Finding the right solutions requires a focused, global effort that brings together people from different disciplines and backgrounds to develop new ideas,” said Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College of Engineering at NC State. “By linking some of the world's top graduate students with leading U.S. researchers, the Vest Scholarships will be an important part of this collaborative effort.”

For more information about Durham, visit this website.

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