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Education/IGERT

The Nanotechnology for Clean Energy IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship) is an interdisciplinary graduate education, research, and training fellowship program in collaboration with Rutgers University. The traineeship program is housed at the Institute for Advanced Materials, Devices and Nanotechnology (IAMDN) at Rutgers and supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Graduate students from both Princeton and Rutgers participate in the traineeship.

This IGERT program focuses on scientific, technical, and policy issues, and explores how nanotechnology can be used to develop, generate, implement and store sustainable and affordable clean energy. Trainees in the Nanotechnology for Clean Energy IGERT program receive structured training designed to enhance their professional development in an interdisciplinary manner. The program incorporates a new interdisciplinary curriculum featuring novel nano-oriented courses in fundamental materials science, physics, chemistry and electrical engineering with specific applications to energy technology development including policy and economic issues. Trainees will receive a PhD from chemistry, physics, materials science and engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering at either Rutgers or Princeton. Dissertation research will focus on specific applications to nanoscale energy technology development (e.g. solar cells, batteries, fuel cells, more efficient and inexpensive flexible electronics). Students supported by this NSF-IGERT program will also study policy and economic issues related to clean energy development through the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.
 
Three Interdisciplinary Research Thrusts
The technical focus of this IGERT consists of three primary interdisciplinary research thrusts (IRTs) that cover 12 themes leveraging the expertise, facilities, and multidisciplinary educational resources at Rutgers and Princeton.
 
  • IRT 1: nanomaterials synthesis and characterization
  • IRT 2: discrete device design and performance optimization
  • IRT 3: integration of energy generation and storage devices
IGERT trainees also have opportunities to participate in a US – Africa international educational exchange program with three objectives:
  • Provide IGERT fellows with realistic perspectives about generating and storing energy in developing countries with communities often located far from the grid
  • Foster face-to-face and cyber-enabled exchanges between U.S. and African students and scientists
  • Encourage U.S. students, particularly those from under-represented populations, to enter science and engineering fields to work on critical, real-world problems of relevance to developing countries in Africa and elsewhere
Education and Training Activities
Students join the IGERT program full time typically in the fall semester after their first academic year of graduate studies at Rutgers or Princeton. During that time the trainees are exposed to the following training and education activities:
 
  • New cross-disciplinary courses (including labs) covering both the core curriculum in engineering, chemistry, materials science, and physics, as well as substantial training in integrated Nanotechnology for Clean Energyscience and engineering
  • A Ph.D. dissertation based on the three IRTs, predicated on research rotations and exposure to the diverse research opportunities described in faculty talks and guest seminars.
  • A seminar series featuring talks on energy technology with guests from industry, academia, and government discussing relevant aspects of clean energy technology, policy, and economics.
  • A supervisory teaching/training experience through hands-on, student-centered teaching of undergraduates.
  • Career and cross career-oriented experiential pathways through a summer internship in Africa, with an industrial enterprise, and/or at a DOE national laboratory.
The Nanotechnology for Clean Energy IGERT project is helping develop a diverse, globally-oriented, and scientifically capable workforce trained in nanotechnology and international development issues. It also engages students to interact closely with national laboratories and industry partners via internships and project collaborations to help translate research into commercially viable clean energy technologies. Applications for the traineeship are available at www.energyIGERT.rutgers.edu. Eligible graduate candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and enrolled in a graduate program at Rutgers or Princeton.