UCSB’s transnational research partnership with China has received an additional $1.5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.

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Ph.D. students from UCSB and Chinese universities meet together to promote educational collaboration on a global scale. The goal of the program is to advocate energy conservation.

Over the next five years, the Partnerships for International Research Education, which advances the U.S.-China partnership in electron chemistry, will receive a total of $4 million. The grant will expand partnerships with Chinese universities as well as support international collaborations with both the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and Fritz Haber Institute.

According to chemistry and chemical engineering professor Susannah Scott, the expanded PIRE-ECCI program will allow students and faculty to contribute to the global effort of energy conservation.

“A major focus is the design of catalysts which will promote clean and efficient chemical reactions,” Scott said. “The catalysts can be used to generate clean and renewable forms of energy, such as hydrogen and liquid fuels from biomass.”

The project, which was selected for the NSF grant over 83 competitors, will bring together catalyst and surface science research groups from both UCSB and leading Chinese institutions to lead a group of Ph.D. students from both countries in their research.

According to UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang, the PIRE-ECCI program has been influential since its establishment on campus five years ago.

“PIRE-ECCI is a wonderful example of the value of international collaboration,” Yang said in e-mail. “This partnership connects our students and researchers with science and engineering activities in China. It also provides long-term educational benefits for our students, who will graduate with unique skills to engage in international and intercultural technical collaboration and be well positioned to become leaders in global technology companies.”

Graduate and postdoctoral researchers involved in the program will also have the opportunity to travel to China to participate in extended research, special technology transfer study tours and annual workshops.

According to Yang, the organization provides the university with invaluable opportunities and reaffirms its standing as a well-respected institution on the forefront of scientific research.

“UC Santa Barbara’s reputation as a flourishing location for collaborative research is recognized internationally as well as nationally,” Yang said. “Our strong partnership with one of the best research institutes in China confirms our stature as a university that provides world-class research and educational opportunities.”