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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
  • Jason E Bara
  • (205) 348-5152
  • Christoffer H Turner
  • Paul Rupar
Award Date:06/11/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 300,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 300,000
  • FY 2021=$300,000
Start Date:07/01/2021
End Date:06/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.079
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:IRES Track 1: Innovative Macromolecular & Polymer Research Experience in San Sebastian (IMPRESS)
Federal Award ID Number:2107325
DUNS ID:045632635
Parent DUNS ID:808245794
Program:IRES Track I: IRES Sites (IS)
Program Officer:
  • Kleanthis Psarris
  • (703) 292-5048

Awardee Location

Street:801 University Blvd.
Awardee Cong. District:07

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
Street:801 University Blvd.
Cong. District:07

Abstract at Time of Award

____________________________________________________________________________________________________ This IRES Site (Track 1) proposal will recruit seven undergraduate students pear year for three years (21 students total) from The University of Alabama (UA) to participate in an 8-week summer research experience focused on polymers and macromolecules at the POLYMAT Institute at the Universidad de Pais Vasco (University of the Basque Country, POLYMAT/UPV) in San Sebastian, Spain. With the advent and proliferation of synthetic polymers in the mid-20th Century, these materials have impacted all aspects of modern life and will continue to be critically important in nearly every scientific discipline in the future, ranging from batteries and fuel cells to tissue engineering and drug delivery. Additionally, managing plastic waste through improved recycling and/or “upcycling” (i.e., value-added) processes is a critical environmental need for improving sustainability. Although ubiquitous in daily life, only a fraction of undergraduate science and engineering students become directly acquainted with polymer science (outside of perhaps a senior-level elective course), and it is uncommon for students to be exposed to advanced applications of polymers beyond general principles introduced in chemistry courses. We will introduce undergraduate researchers to polymers early in their careers and provide these students with opportunities to work on the use of polymers in batteries, corrosion prevention, catalysis, and biological applications. The chosen host location (POLYMAT/UPV) is uniquely suited to host this IRES Site based on its high level of polymer research activity within the EU and the concentration of leading international researchers in polymers at their institution. This program will provide training and hands-on international research experiences for undergraduate students in the field of macromolecular and polymer materials at POLYMAT/UPV in San Sebastian, Spain. These students will be mentored by international researchers who are leaders in their fields, their research contributions will support the various ongoing projects within POLYMAT/UPV, and they will be introduced to the efforts and coordination necessary for a large, international research center. The technical skills and experience with POLYMAT/UPV could serve as the catalyst to increase further research and national collaborations on these topics and ensure that the U.S. remains in a leadership position in polymer research bolstered by IRES participants. This program will: i) increase the number of underrepresented STEM students participating in research; ii) strengthen the international collaborative research network between researchers in the US and Spain; iii) increase the students’ intercultural maturity through interactions with international faculty and participation in Spanish/Basque social & cultural activities; and iv) increase student understanding of graduate studies to encourage student pursuit of STEM graduate degrees. A combination of a semester-long elective course in polymers, followed by a concentrated interim course at UA will help provide the technical background and preparatory steps to help students quickly adapt and succeed once they arrive at POLYMAT/UPV. In addition to their research, students will participate in three professional development workshops while in Spain and have opportunities to present and publish their research results. This project is jointly funded by the International Research Experience for Students program and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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