Tunisia, on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa and its close neighbor, Egypt, will each become regular stamps in the passports of two engineering faculty members during the next three years.
A nearly $60,000 grant received in early August from the National Science Foundation will afford both Pradeep Sharma, Bill D. Cook associate professor of mechanical engineering and physics, and Ramanan Krishnamoorti, M.D. Anderson Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, yearly trips to Ecole Polytechnic of Tunisia and Egypt’s Bani Suef University.
The federal funding is intended to support travel primarily to these two universities and possibly other institutions for these professors and their graduate students. Two professors from Rice and Texas A&M universities are also partnering in the endeavor.
“The grant will be used to help establish research and education collaborations with the countries of Egypt and Tunisia,” Sharma said, noting the trips are intended not only to strengthen ties with high-quality institutions abroad, but help to increase research activity at UH.
“One of the benefits, once we determine our research collaborations, is we will be able to share our research tasks, thus, increasing our productivity,” Sharma said. “Another one of the auxiliary, but important benefits of this program is an increased inflow of high quality graduate students to the college of engineering.”
The first trip, Sharma said, is expected to take place in December. Sharma, who will travel with two graduate students, is planning to give a lecture at Ecole Polytechnic as well as begin making arrangements for future research collaborations with the institution.
Trips lasting no longer than one week are expected to take place once a year for the duration of the grant.