US students strengthen links with Australia

2014 EAPSI participants at the top of Mount Ainslie in Canberra

A program that brings US science and engineering graduate students to Australia during the American summer has once again enabled a group to undertake research and build relationships with their Australian counterparts.

The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) program has been organised by the Academy, in collaboration with the US National Science Foundation (NSF), for more than a decade. It is co-funded by the NSF and the Australian Government Department of Education.

The EAPSI project initiated a strong and valuable collaboration between the two research groups at Adelaide and Berkeley…I returned to Adelaide in April 2014 to receive training in [laser] techniques and am set to return for a much longer tenure of six to twelve months in September 2014 to fully learn the techniques and conduct research.

Kathleen Lask, University of California, Berkeley (2013 EAPSI participant)

In June, the Academy welcomed 25 EAPSI Fellows to Australia for eight weeks. This is the first time more than 20 students have participated at one time.

The visiting students’ program started with an introduction to Australian culture and science in Canberra. Amongst other activities the students visited the Australian War Memorial and Parliament House, and witnessed Question Time. Professor Marilyn Renfree AO FAA delivered a presentation about marsupial reproduction—in particular the tamar wallaby, and Dr TJ Higgins FAA FTSE presented on genetically modified grains in Africa. These scientists then joined the students and other members of the Academy’s Council for dinner.

Before the students departed Canberra for their host institutions across Australia, His Excellency Mr John Berry, US Ambassador to Australia, officially welcomed the group to Australia and spent time getting to know them over breakfast.

The Academy is delighted that the number of participants in this program will increase to 30 in 2015. The program’s continuation and expansion is due to the support of the Australian Embassy in Washington DC and the Australian Government Department of Education.

Previous participants have found the program opens up new opportunities for research and knowledge sharing, resulting in significant benefits for the participants and their hosts.

Further information on the EAPSI program can be found on the NSF website.

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