Purdue-Mexico team selected for Innovation Fund award
The winning proposal titled "Aerospace International Research & AIR Program" will allow Purdue students from a variety of disciplines to continue their collaborative research with UNAQ students that began remotely in 2020.
The goal of one project was to design and test a subscale elevator profile and determine the performance characteristics to control the pitch altitude of an AWS 28 glider. The second project involved constructing a traction-improving automotive rear wing for a Mazda Miata.
Seeking to reactivate the activities of both institutions despite the pandemic, the teams carried out the two projects based on Purdue’s Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education (GEARE) program. GEARE provides opportunities for engineering students to have a comprehensive experience putting into practice another language, collaborative research work and international experiences.
Twenty-four students – 13 from Purdue – used digital design programs and physical laboratories at their respective universities to complete the preliminary phase. It is hoped that with the $25,000 prize students can begin to travel to the partner universities in Spring 2022.
“We were fortunate to have great support from faculty on both universities,” says Francisco Montalvo, assistant director of global projects in the Office of Professional Practice. “While the technical challenge was the main component, we wanted to use this opportunity to ensure students would develop their intercultural competency.”
He says live sessions were organized for the group where members could reflect on the challenges of collaborating virtually across borders. This project and other GEARE activities support ongoing research by Kirsten Davis, assistant professor of engineering education, on the effectiveness of virtual collaboration.
The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the hemisphere-wide education initiative between the U.S. Department of State, U.S. embassies, and Partners of the Americas in collaboration with regional private sector, foundations, and academic networks to stimulate and support higher education partnerships between the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere. The Innovation Fund inspires U.S. higher education institutions (HEIs) to partner with HEIs in Latin America to create academic exchange programs that will provide more students with critical access to new models of training at their home and host institutions, work in teams, solve real-world problems, and gain technical, linguistic, and intercultural skills.
Currently, Mexico is the leading country in this initiative to form partnerships and innovative student exchange programs with U.S. universities and colleges. As of July 2021, there are 20 Mexican states and 27 U.S. states that benefit from 71 Innovation Fund awards, which directly impact hundreds of students and faculty in both countries.