NSF IRES Project: Exploring Bio-based Plastics and Materials through Collaborative Research in Japan
As global concerns over the environmental impacts of plastic waste continue to grow, new solutions for providing sustainable materials are desperately needed, along with globally-minded scientists and engineers to deliver them. With NSF support, this project seeks to develop such solutions while exploring new frontiers of biobased plastics and materials and training the next generation of innovative problem solvers. This project will allow graduate and undergraduate students from at Arizona State University (ASU) and Navajo Technical University (NTU) to travel to and participate in hands-on research projects in the Department of Biobased Materials at Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT) in Kyoto, Japan. For 10 weeks each Summer, this project will provide training opportunities for up to 3 graduate and 6 undergraduate student participants. Students will be embedded into the labs of KIT faculty, collaborating and working closely with them and their students. Student participants will also take part in a series of unique cultural activities, as well as tours of industrial sites and government research facilities.
Projects offered each Summer will span the continuum of relevant research challenges facing the production of biobased plastics and materials, including from upstream conversion, to polymer synthesis and materials development, to characterization of the resulting products, to their ultimate biodegradation. Students will be trained and participate in one or more the following areas: i) applied microbiology and bioprocess engineering to enhance the availability of diverse, bio-derived monomers; ii) polymer chemistry and engineering for producing new bioplastics from bio-derived monomers; iii) engineering of novel fibers and materials from diverse sources (e.g., bamboo and silk) and for various applications; iv) synthesis and characterization of novel, functionalized biomaterials for biomedical applications; v) development of new analytical techniques for high-throughput screening of novel monomers and nanostructural characterization of biobased materials and plastics; and vi) investigation of sustainable methods for bioplastic degradation.
Oct. 1 – Dec. 31: Application period opens.
Jan. 1 – Jan. 31: Committee Review.
Feb. 1: Award Notification.
Feb. 15: Deadline to Accept.
Mar. 1 – Apr. 30: Pre-departure Training and Preparation.
Mid-May: Travel to Kyoto, Japan
Mid-May – Early Aug.: Residence in Kyoto and Research at KIT
Early Aug.: Return from Kyoto, Japan
Late Aug.: Project Round-Up
- Visit https://fultonapps.asu.edu/scholarship/
- Click on any Major
- Look for ‘International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) Japan Scholarship’
NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SUMMER 2024! APPLY BY 12/31!
Some memories from our trip in Summer ’23
Participants and contact info:
|Metabolic engineering, synthetic biology
|Microbial fermentation, bacterial genetics
|Metabolic engineering, systems & synthetic biology
|Polymer science, membrane separations
|Electrochemical sensors, and Biosensors, energy storage, paper and plastic based 2D and 3D flexible electrodes
|Structure and properties of multiphase polymeric materials
|Synthetic chemistry, Glycotechnology
|Wood science, Polymer science