SMAT-C members have considerable experience in supervising doctoral theses in several subjects considered in this project, spanning both fundamental and applied research. The Center’s investigators are involved in 5 different doctoral programs in the Universidad de Santiago, namely: 1. Science with Major in Physics; 2. Chemistry; 3. Engineering in Materials Science; 4. Biotechnology and 5. Food Science and Technology. Members of SMAT-C participate and have supervised students in more than one program at the time so there is already a cross-linking between the programs. In addition, several “MECESUP” projects aimed at improving the quality of undergraduate and graduate programs have been directed or co-directed by members of our group. (mece usa9903, usa0012). Former postdoctoral students (>15) have research and faculty positions in Chile, France and USA. Former PhD graduates (>15) have research (including postdoctoral) or faculty positions in Chile and USA, as well as positions in the Chilean industry. In the future, we expect to direct an increasing number of PhD students. There are currently 19 in number, being 2 of them in Materials Science and 7 in Chemistry, 5 in Physics and 4 in Food Engineering. With the present project, we expect to graduate 5 students every year.
We expect to promote discipline crosslinking within the framework of the project by the involvement of more than one scientist in the supervision of a single thesis, not only at the PhD level but also in the Masters and undergraduate programs. Students from all programs shall benefit from this interdisciplinary approach since will they learn to solve problems with the help of different groups and labs. Our ideas are rooted not in what is, but in what could be. We are not only interested in finding answers, but also in asking new questions in challenging areas related to the project. Seminar and group meetings are already taking place weekly. Team meetings operate periodically and allow us to effectively guide our students during their PhD theses. To favor further interactions, new PhD theses in the Center will be developed on a co-advisory basis, in particular via International collaboration. The inclusion foreign co-advisors, which increases the amount of supervision of a doctoral thesis, has resulted in a positive experience in the past, especially with France, USA and Spain.
The acquisition of additional funding to support students, lecturers and post doctorate exchanges through Mecesup, Conicyt, NSF and NIH agencies will continue to be one of our priorities. In regard to Latin American, special attention will be given to enhance our exchange program through the development of a network with Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Spain using for these means the opportunities offered by programs such as Erasmus Mundus, Conicyt-Cnpq, Conicyt-Conicet. New actions on human resources training will be undertaken by SMAT-C members and collaborators abroad. For instance, implementing summer and winter schools (1 per year), workshops (1/year), short interdisciplinary courses (2/year), short instrumentation courses (1 or 2/year), and new regular courses for our graduate and undergraduate programs (2 / year).
Our students will also benefit from the following specific collaboration and exchange programs that are currently under operation (most of which are managed by our team members):
A series of specific projects in which our students also have an active role include ECOS-CONICYT, CNRS-CONICYT and ANR-CONICYT Grants with the École Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielles (Paris, France),and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and Lyon (France). Current research collaborations with different groups around the world will strengthen the work of SMAT-C and give new opportunities for the exchange of students. Namely, the collaborations include (see letters of support) those with the group of Prof. Jacques Dumais in Harvard University (USA), the group of Prof. Pedro Reis in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), the group of Prof. Gunther Seckmeyer in University of Hannover (Germany), the group of Prof. Fethi Bedioui in the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris (France), the group of Prof. George Thompson in University of Manchester, the group of Prof. Bernard Tribollet in the Laboratoire Interfaces et Systèmes Électrochimiques (France), the group of Prof. Pedro Fito Maupoey in Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain), and the group of Prof. Manouk Abkarian at the Laboratoire des Colloïdes, Verres et Nanomatériaux at Montpellier (France).
Moreover, a special program of internships will be implemented to attract advanced undergraduate students to the Center via national call. Grants will be awarded on a public, competitive basis. Selected students will spend a day per week in one of our laboratories to get early experience and training on research and development, under the guidance of our investigators. Past experiences developed by the group of complex materials have proven this program to be effective.
Ultimately, to specially favor our students position in strategic private and public sectors, we shall arrange meeting seminars, visits, and international business tours aimed towards the identification of long term joint projects aligned for this priority (see below for LT2 Unit activities). In summary, we expect our center to increase not only the quality and number of theses but also the number of patents and small businesses in which students are involved.