Bruce to Attend NSF Program in Australia

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MSE graduate student Bobby Bruce.

MSE graduate student Bobby Bruce, advised by Professor Gottlieb Oerhlein, is one of only 12 students nationwide selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to attend the "Fostering U.S.-Australian Research Collaborations in Materials Program" to be held in Sydney, Australia, in July 2008. The goals of the program are to connect U.S. and Australian graduate students and their advisors in order to establish collaborations on materials-based research, and to provide students with project leadership training. The program is organized by the Materials Research Institute at Northwestern University and the Australian Research Network for Advanced Materials (ARNAM), and sponsored by the NSF and ARNAM. Bruce's trip will be completely funded by the NSF.

Before traveling to Australia, each American graduate student will be teamed with an Australian student whose research interests are complimentary, and discuss potential collaborative projects in an online forum. When they meet in person, they will tour research facilities and attend project-relevant symposia at the 2008 International Conference on Electronic Materials (IUMRS-ICEM). They will then present their ideas at a special symposium held by the Materials World Network.

"I am very excited and thankful to have the opportunity to go to Australia and learn about the research being done over there," said Bruce. "I hope to learn a lot about how to establish a research collaboration and also gain experience in project planning and development. I look forward to meeting new people and sharing my research with them."

Oehrlein feels Bruce is an excellent fit for the program. "Bobby’s work has addressed the complex problem of nanotechnological manufacturing involving nanostructured polymers designed for plasma and energetic beam templating of materials," he said. "He has done this within the NSF model of the Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team (NIRT). His experience working with partners that have different and complementary competencies—in Professor Ray Phaneuf's group here at UMD, and also with collaborators at UC Berkeley and UT Austin—have uniquely qualified him for the program."

"Bobby has exhibited great leadership both in terms of the quality of his research results and his interactions with other students," Oehrlein and MSE Professor and Chair Robert M. Briber wrote in their nomination letter. "He is also an excellent speaker and thinker. It is clear to us that he will be one of the best students to graduate from our department with a Ph.D. and will have an impact later on."

Published May 9, 2008