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Crossing the pond

Press release issued: 1 May 2002

Media release
Crossing the pond
Young researchers forge new transatlantic links

Fifty young researchers from top universities in the UK and US are crossing the Atlantic to work with their counterparts in the first exchange programme co-ordinated by the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN).

The scheme focuses on fast-growing, globally important areas of research that depend on collaboration between disciplines and institutions. Climatology, bioinformatics and nanotechnology are among the priority subjects.

The universities of Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and York have teamed up with five American universities to implement the scheme. They believe the international experience, collaboration and contacts available through the programme will benefit both the individuals involved and the research itself.

These initial exchanges are for several months, but longer ones will be developed in future, building up to full joint doctoral programmes.

Anthony Vigor from the University of Manchester was awarded a scholarship to travel to the University of Wisconsin at Madison to research innovative approaches to local economic development. He said: "The WUN studentship enabled me to enhance my UK-based research through a visit to the US. The liaison with academics, and access to resources, in Madison has provided a new perspective on my previous research. I would recommend the scholarship to all."

Richard Ellis from the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Leeds said: "The WUN funding allows me to undertake a pathway of research I would never have considered without the visit to Seattle.

"The Meteorology Faculty at Washington State University has a number of people with extensive experience in the analysis of satellite imagery. Being able to draw on this pool of experience will reduce dramatically the amount of time I spend assessing which of the data sets may be of use and which to discard."

Antonio Feteira from the University of Sheffield's Department of Engineering Materials said: "I had an excellent opportunity to carry out experiments at Penn State's Materials Research Lab, where I had access to world-class facilities for dielectric characterisation.

"My interaction with faculty members was extremely rewarding and will definitely improve my understanding of specific areas of science. The administration of the exchange programme was flawless."

Andrew Currah from the University of Southampton said: "My WUN scholarship was used to fund a research trip to the Department of Geography, University of Washington. During that time, I investigated the emerging characteristics of the digital economy in Seattle through extensive interviews with companies such as Real Networks and Microsoft.

"Overall, the scheme has provided me with a unique opportunity to exchange research ideas and experience with faculty and students, engage with an innovative research group and further cultivate the WUN link between these two vibrant Geography departments."

WUN will soon be offering a further round of exchange awards. The scheme will be extended to include exchanges for young academic staff and visits by distinguished scholars.

Dr David Pilsbury, Chief Executive of WUN, said: "A cultural shift is taking place towards forms of graduate education and training that transcend geographic and disciplinary boundaries. Our programme supports this change.

"It also contributes to widening student participation and the development of a diverse, globally aware workforce that is geared up for the challenges of the future."

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Wednesday, 01-May-2002 11:05:50 BST

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