Tech professor visits India as part of U.S. delegation on energy issues

Jan 20, 2011 | Engineering and Science, Research and Development

While most people were busy shopping during the holiday season, Dr. Daniela Mainardi, associate professor of chemical engineering at Louisiana Tech University and member of the Institute for Micromanufacturing, was preparing for a trip that would take her half way around the world. As part of a joint effort, Mainardi, together with Virendra Mathur from the University of New Hampshire, and Suddhasatwa Basu and Shantanu Roy from The Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, was in charge of organizing a workshop titled, “Energy and Environment: Challenges and Research Opportunities” for The Claridges, SurajKund in Delhi, India this past December. The purpose of the workshop was to have an exchange of scientific information and a dialogue between American and Indian university faculty members. The interaction was supported by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, The Indian Institute of Technology, and the National Science Foundation through a grant on which Mainardi is a Co-Principal Investigator. “This joint workshop provides a platform to achieve these objectives of information exchange and faculty collaboration that may have a major impact on the critical problems facing the world today,” said Mainardi.  “The major result of this workshop would be the continuation of the sustained collaborative R&D efforts between faculty members of the two nations to undertake fundamental research in the areas of energy and pollution control.” “Another objective of the workshop was to facilitate contacts between chemical engineering academics in India and the U.S. in order that some collaborative efforts might ensue in the future from this workshop.” The workshop was attended by 28 chemical engineers – 14 from U.S. and 14 from India. The U.S. delegation was carefully selected and consisted of 14 professors at the full and associate professor levels from different American institutions.  Two others attendees from Louisiana, apart from Mainardi, were Vijay John, chair of the chemical and biomolecular engineering department at Tulane University, and Kaliyat Valsaraj, chair of the chemical engineering department at LSU. The India delegation consisted of professors from diverse selection of Indian institutions, such as the Indian Institute of Science, the Indian Institute of Technology, and the Calcutta University. After oral presentations were given by each attendee, the group benefited from breakout sessions to identify clear areas for collaboration. “Knowing everyone’s research accomplishments helped visualize how we could all benefit from each other’s strengths,” Mainardi said.  “The workshop highlighted the potential of collaborative work to enhance the tools for Energy and Environment and proposed several avenues for future research.”