DIT partnership offers wide range of opportunities
College of Technology administrators and faculty alike have embraced the possibilities presented by Purdue’s partnership with Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in Ireland. In fact, the college’s involvement with DIT has been especially fruitful.
“It is certainly the most developed of our partnerships,” says Melissa Dark, associate dean for research and strategic planning. “We have other partnerships, but none has a similar group of exchanges.”
Since 2004, the College of Technology has worked with DIT to create student and faculty exchanges, joint degree programs, research partnerships and study abroad excursions. Investigations into additional joint ventures continue.
This summer, for example, a group of DIT administrators and faculty visited Purdue to hear from College of Technology researchers about possible collaborations that focus on the strengths of each institution.
“We believe research is increasingly interdisciplinary and international,” says Steve Jerrams, director and principal investigator of DIT’s Centre for Elastomer Research. “We want to work with the best people with complementary skills to our own.”
His colleague, Marek Rebow, head of research for engineering, agrees. “What’s most important is to have the seed to find potential collaboration,” he said. “We’ve compared signature areas at the university and college levels, and it’s a good match. Now we’re looking for champions that we can develop.”
This transatlantic coordination is good for research and good for grant opportunities. Granting agencies are increasingly looking for evidence of collaboration, whether between departments, between universities, or between countries.
“We are solving some grand challenges, societal challenges,” Rebow said. “If one institution can’t solve this problem, they find collaborators with complementary research skills. DIT and the College of Technology are strong in collaborative research and transdisciplinary application.”
Dark believes the differences in the two universities and their outlooks can only strengthen the types of research that emerge.
“How is somebody supposed to see a problem from another perspective? We work with international researchers to conceive the problem differently,” she says. “This wider lens helps solve problems differently. We can take advantage of resources from each, and we can understand how local solutions have to be adapted for them to work elsewhere. These types of collaborative relationships with international colleagues are important to advance new knowledge and discoveries to promote the development of a diverse, globally engaged U.S. scientific and engineering workforce.”
Dean Dennis Depew is visiting DIT this week (Oct. 3-6) to celebrate the renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding with them. He and Don Buskirk, international programs officer, will also meet with officials to assess the partnership and examine ways to improve exchanges. Depew will also help lay the groundwork for a visit by DIT's president, Brian Norton, to Purdue in Spring 2011.
This is the first in a series of stories about the College of Technology's relationship with the Dublin Institute of Technology.