The University of Arizona has received a 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund award through a federal initiative to expand higher-education partnerships in environmental sciences in the Western Hemisphere and increase study-abroad opportunities for students at the UA and in Latin America.
Sponsored by the White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas and the Association of International Educators, and funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation, the grant will support 10 graduate students at the UA and partner universities pursuing dual master's degrees in environmental sciences and engineering, in a coordinated curriculum focused on water sustainability and reuse.
The U.S. ambassador to Mexico announced the award, which aims to enhance student regional education cooperation and competiveness, at the 2016 Partners of the Americas convention in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October.
The program enables teams of students to work and study together. Students spend one year at their home institution and the other at a participating university in another country.
"Scarcity of clean water is a serious problem confronting major cities and arid and semiarid regions of the Americas," said professor of chemical and environmental engineering Jim Field, assistant dean of graduate education in the UA College of Engineering and coordinator of the study-abroad program with the UA Office of Global Initiatives.
"Training future professionals to develop and implement water reuse technology requires a collaborative international approach," Field said. "This award will help graduate students in the U.S. and Latin America overcome mobility and language barriers to better tackle water challenges throughout the region."
The UA's partner universities are the Federal University of Pernambuco and Federal University of Minas Gerais, both in Brazil; the University of Concepción in Chile; and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Students from these universities will conduct research with world-renowned faculty experts on water contamination, remediation and reuse in the UA College of Engineering. They include Field, director of the UA Dean Carter Binational Center for Environmental Health Sciences, and professor Shane Snyder, co-director of the UA Water Sustainability and Technology Center, both fellows of the International Water Association; and professor Reyes Sierra, director of the college's program in environmental engineering.
This is the fourth time the UA has received an innovation grant from the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund since the program was established in 2014 — more often than any other U.S. university.