Technology, Applied to Change Our World
A guiding principle behind our research efforts has been the use of materials science for the promotion of global development. Our activities have been organized around various initiatives:
- The Global Development Network (Website Coming Soon!)
Prof. Soboyejo founded this club at Princeton as a way to engage students in the U.S. and the developing world in research and development, as well as educational initiatives that explore new approaches to providing energy, clean water, affordable housing and education for people in the developing world. Recent projects have taken students to Nigeria to set up a clay water filter factory, and Ethiopia and Kenya to test a solar-powered vaccine delivery system for remote areas. New projects are focusing on the development of alternative building materials using bamboo in India and the development of malaria treatment drugs.
- Scientific Outreach Programs
Throughout the year, our students have participated in various volunteer outreach programs, both through personal initiatives and as part of formalized programs, as a way to give back to the communities that we have come from, as well as those in the greater Princeton area. Every summer, we choose one or two programs that we particularly commit to. In the past, there have been strong partnerships with PUMA, the Princeton University Materials Academy. Recent efforts have also seen to the establishment of a scientific outreach program in the International Rescue Committee's annual summer school for recently-arrived refugee youth in New York City. Efforts have ranged from mentoring and tutoring, to the establishment and teaching of a full curriculum. The technical applications towards development are particularly emphasized.
- US/Africa Materials Institute (USAMI)
This NSF-funded program, was established as a virtual institute that focuses on doing materials research and education in areas that can stimulate human capacity development and economic development in Africa. The program supports exchange visits, research, educational modules and workshops that promote collaboration between researchers and students in the U.S., and their counterparts in Africa. Prof. Soboyejo served as the Director of USAMI from 2003-2008.
- Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS)
EPICS is an experiential project-based learning course offered each semester at Princeton. Students work in small teams with non-profit community organizations to address their technology-based needs, while earning course credit for their work. In 2009, Prof. Soboyejo will teach a course that will also include members of both GDN and his research group will team up with ISLES to work on a project that will engage undergraduates in the holistic design of sustainable buildings. It will include lectures, hands on labs and group projects that use buildings in Trenton as models for the development of sustainable solutions to problems of inner city towns such as Trenton. The program will include considerations of the human implications of sustainable buildings, holistic considerations of energy conversion, novel ways of designing sustainable buildings that are cost effective and environmentally friendly, and the implications of policy/code requirements.