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MISTI selects first winners of Global Seed Funds

Graphic © / MISTI

A project to develop a networked underwater energy-harvesting robot and a study of stem cell-based engineered tissues are among the international faculty research collaborations that will receive nearly half a million dollars in funding as part of a new program by the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI).

Of the 104 proposals received for the inaugural 2008-2009 MISTI Global Seed Funds, 27 were awarded funding. Faculty and research scientists from 26 departments across the Institute submitted proposals for projects in 42 countries. All awardees include undergraduate, graduate or post-doctoral student participation.

Teams will use the $457,400 in grant money to jump-start international research projects and collaboration with faculty and student counterparts abroad. Funds will be used to cover international travel, meeting and workshop costs to facilitate the projects. MISTI will provide cultural preparation for participating students before their departure.

The MISTI Global Seed Funds program was initiated through funding from the Office of the Provost to enhance the internationalization of MIT research and education.

"By enabling MIT students to participate in faculty-led international projects, we hope to increase opportunities for hands-on, global learning and connection to innovation around the world," said Richard Samuels, director of the Center for International Studies.

MISTI Global Seed Funds includes a general pool for projects in any location and several country-specific funds supported by outside donors.

MIT's largest international program, MISTI is a pioneer in applied international studies. Since 1994, the program has placed over 3,000 MIT students in professional internships and research positions with its network of leading companies, universities, research institutes and NGOs around the world. MISTI currently operates in nine countries: China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Spain. The program is a part of the Center for International Studies.

MISTI will launch the next MISTI Global Seed Funds call for proposals in May 2009, with a deadline in early fall.

2008-2009 MISTI Global Seed Funds recipients:


Regional, Economic, and Environmental Implications of Dual Ethanol Technologies in Brazil (Brazil)
Karen Polenske, Ciro Biderman
Architecture and Planning; Urban Studies and Planning

Spring School on Methods and Tools for Computational Engineering (Germany)
Markus J. Buehler
Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of Queensland MIT STEM Instrumentation Project (Australia)
Steven Lerman, Jesús del Alamo
Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Nanotechnological Studies of Stem Cell-Based Engineered Tissues for Intervertebral Disc Regeneration (Israel)
Christine Ortiz, Alan Grodzinsky
Engineering; Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering

Sports Innovation Collaboration with Longborough University (United Kingdom)
J. Kim Vandiver, Kim Blair
Engineering; Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics and Astronautics

Origin and Evolutionary Dynamics of H3N2 Influenza Virus A/Fujian/411/02 (China)
Jianzhu Chen
Science; Biology

Origin of Conical Stromatolites: Experiments, Theory, Observations (Russia)
Tanja Bosak, Daniel Rothman
Science; Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Instantons and Holomorphic Bundles (Brazil)
Katrin Wehrheim
Science; Mathematics

From Regulation to Performance: Improving Industrial Pollution Regulations in India (India)
Esther Duflo, Michael Greenstone
SHASS; Economics

Performing (Fan) Cultures: MIT Dance Theater Ensemble in Tokyo (Japan)
Thomas DeFrantz, Ian Condry
SHASS; Music and Theater Arts and Foreign Languages and Literatures

Chinese Science in Context: A Qualitative and Quantitative Examination of the Social Organization of Scientists and their Laboratories (China)
Fiona Murray, Yasheng Huang
Sloan School of Management


Ground Truthing: Exploring the Social Implications of Real-Time Mapping Endeavors
Carlo Ratti
Architecture and Planning; Urban Studies and Planning

Exploration of the Potential of Ionic Liquid Ion Sources for Nanofabrication
Paulo Lozano
Engineering; Aeronautics and Astronautics

Supercritical Microfluidics for Green Chemistry and Hierarchically Advanced Materials
Klavs Jensen
Engineering; Chemical Engineering

Joint Experimental/Theoretical Investigation of Immiscible Element Nanocomposites
Michael Demkowicz
Engineering; Materials Science and Engineering

Biologically Inspired Flapping Foils for Flow Energy Recovery
Michael Triantafyllou, Franz Hover
Engineering; Mechanical Engineering

Neuronal Recruitment in Adult Brain Circuits
Carlos Lois
Science; Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Elasticity and Interfaces
Pedro Reis, Sunghwan (Sunny) Jung
Science; Mathematics

Tracking the Rule of Law: A Ten-Nation Study of Legal Consciousness
Susan Silbey
SHASS; Anthropology

Self-Locating Beliefs: New Empirical and Conceptual Approaches
Alex Byrne, Robert Stalnaker
SHASS; Linguistics and Philosophy


Better-than-Human Sensory Skin for Robots
Brian Wardle
Engineering; Aeronautics and Astronautics

The Role of Microbes in the Ocean Sulfur Cycle and the Role of Sulfur in Ocean Microbial Interactions: A Pioneering Microfluidic Approach
Roman Stocker
Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering

Magnetic Nanostructures for Data Storage
Caroline Ross
Engineering; Materials Science and Engineering

Predictive Solar Cell Performance Modeling by Defect Engineering
Tonio Buonassisi
Engineering; Mechanical Engineering

Nanophotonic Technologies for the Treatment of Atherosclerotic Plaque: Nanoparticles vs. Molecular Bioconjugates
Mercedes Balcells
Whitaker; Health Sciences and Technology


Capillary Trapping During CO2 Sequestration in Deep Saline Aquifers
Ruben Juanes
Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering

Collaboration with Tokyo Institute of Technology: A Networked Underwater Energy Harvesting Robot
Daniela Rus
Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 25, 2009 (download PDF).

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