Travel awards help faculty strengthen WSU’s global research presence; deadline Nov. 22

By Abbi Delgado, Office of International Programs

PULLMAN, Wash. – Recipients of the first International Research Travel Awards (IRTA) returned to Washington State University with stronger relationships and collaborative research proposals. Applications for the 2013-14 awards are being accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22.

“These awards provided the opportunity for our faculty to strengthen WSU’s international ties and further scientific research and scholarly work,” said Jane Payumo, IRTA coordinator and international research associate in the Office of International Programs (IP).

“International research collaborations of our faculty have important implications for shaping WSU’s research agenda,” said Nancy Magnuson, interim vice president for research. “These alliances provide unique opportunities to enhance research and training among our faculty and students to help advance knowledge and solve global problems.

“We hope to build on this success and use IRTA as a vehicle to influence individual motivation and faculty productivity,” said Jerman Rose, IP interim vice provost. “Working with units such the Office of Research, we want to encourage an organizational culture that not only promotes going global but really demonstrates it in our research partnerships.”

Joint research proposals

schwabl-H-80“This award helped extend my research partnerships with other European labs with state-of-the-art programs and infrastructure,” said Hubert Schwabl, School of Biological Sciences. With his collaborator at Germany’s Max-Planck Institutes, he developed a proposal for collaborative life sciences research to submit to the National Science Foundation (NSF).

McEwen-J-S-2011-80Similarly, Jean Sabin McEwen, chemical engineering and bioengineering, and his collaborators at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and Leipzig (Germany) University developed an NSF proposal focused on biofuels research.

zhao-F-80“With this financial support, I was able to strengthen my collaborative relationship with Chih-Fang Huang at the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan,” said Feng Zhao, electrical engineering, WSU Vancouver. The researchers refined two proposals to the U.S. Department of Energy for developing a high power switch for energy efficiency and power management.

Groundwork for future exchanges, collaborations

The Taiwan lab also organized seminars to disseminate Zhao’s research results and introduce WSU’s research programs and academic life to NTHU faculty, staff and students. Many students expressed interest in pursuing graduate studies at WSU, Zhao said.

Hamlin,-W-2010-80Because of time spent at Lancaster University in England, Will Hamlin, English, has access to its University Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language database.

“It’s the world’s most advanced corpus query processor for early modern English literary research,” he said. “It will help me amass the data for future scholarly studies and aid me in pursuing local collaborations, such as with our WSU Libraries.”

IP and the WSU Office of Research piloted the university-wide IRTA in October 2012. The next round of proposals will be accepted starting Oct. 22; find details at