This page contains additional material on the NanoJapan program, including links to the NanoJapan website and documentation.
Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and based at Rice University, NanoJapan combines the best aspects of a traditional study abroad experience with intensive nanotechnology research internships. It has been nationally recognized as an innovative and effective model for international STEM programs.
This summer program provides U.S. students with intensive study in Japanese language and culture as well as placement in research laboratories at Japanese universities and institutions. The host labs are selected for their willingness to mentor undergraduate students and desire to increase the international diversity and intercultural competencies of Japanese group members by providing them with an opportunity to work with U.S. students.
Operating since 2006, NanoJapan brings together six collaborating U.S. universities and 11 Japanese institutions. It provides opportunities for other projects and Japanese mobility to the United States as well. The objectives of the education program are to:
- Cultivate an interest in nanotechnology as a field of study among college students
- Nurture the next generation of graduate students in nanotechnology
- Add to the skill set of active nanoscience researchers
- Create U.S. students who are internationally savvy and have a specific interest in and knowledge of Japan (and vice versa)
- Educate students in culture, language, and technology, in order that they may be more effective when addressing global scientific problem.
NanoJapan: International Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
The NanoJapan: International Research Experience for Undergraduates Program is the key educational initiative of a NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) grant awarded to Rice University. We collaborate with five U.S. universities and leading Japanese laboratories in optics, photonics, and materials. The grant was awarded in 2006 and received a five-year renewal in 2010, allowing us to establish long-term research partnerships that build upon existing and foster new research collaborations in the area of terahertz studies of nanostructures.
NanoJapan recruits U.S. freshman and sophomore students to introduce them to international research early, when this experience can shape future academic, research, and career choices. The program begins with a 3-week orientation in Tokyo that combines language instruction, an orientation to Japanese life and culture, and seminars by prominent researchers. Students are then integrated into an existing PIRE team, advised by both a Japanese host professor and a U.S. professor. This unique structure gives students an opportunity to learn to navigate through language, cultural, and logistical barriers inherent in international collaborations. The capstone experience is presenting a research poster at the Rice Quantum Institute Summer Colloquium.
Links to Articles on NanoJapan
Ragusa, Gisele, Cheryl A. Matherly, and Sarah R. Phillips, 2014, Comparison of the Impact of Two Research Experiences for Undergraduate Programs on Preparing Students for Global Workforces. Proceedings of 2014 IEEE Conference, Frontiers in Education.
Phillips, Sarah R., Cheryl A. Matherly, and Junichiro Kono. 2014. NanoJapan: international research experience for undergraduates program: fostering U.S.-Japan research collaborations in terahertz science and technology of nanostructures. SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics) Proceedings 9188.
2011 Reverse NanoJapan Program at Rice University
The TeraNano PIRE Center developed the 2011 Reverse NanoJapan Program in response to the March 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami. With supplemental funding and support provided by the National Science Foundation and the Rice University Office of the President, w were able to bring 14 U.S. and 25 Japanese students to Rice for a summer research and education program. Rice’s research facilities were made available to the Japanese students whose research had been suspended due to energy shortages and other after effects of the disaster in Japan and, at the same time, the U.S. students were able to still be involved in international research collaboration with a Japanese student; one of the hallmarks of the NanoJapan Program. The NSF offered supplemental funding through a special allocation for projects impacted by the earthquake an tsunami which enabled us to off-set some travel and program costs for the Japanese student participants. The Office of the President at Rice University also provided full funding for on-campus housing in the graduate apartments, enabling the U.S. and Japanese students to live together for a more robust inter-cultural experience. In-kind support in the form of guest speakers, special workshops, and other cultural events was also provided by a range of Houston-area organizations including the Japanese Consulate in Houston, the Japan Association of Greater Houston, and Kaminari Taiko.
“Rice has been very supportive,” Prof. Junichiro Kono, PI of the NSF-PIRE grant that funds NanoJapan, said. “The President’s Office kindly provided all the housing support and meals for all the students, both U.S. and Japanese. The National Science Foundation has allowed us to use our grant to support the Japanese students, which is also unusual. We’re also getting some personal and industry donations to support this program. Everything is working great. The NanoJapan Program will return to Japan in 2012, but since this reverse program is going so well, if we can get enough support, we want to continue in some way to have Japanese students here at Rice.”
>> View Video of 2011 Reverse NanoJapan
>> Read Overview of 2011 Reverse NanoJapan – In English
>> Read Overview of 2011 Reverse NanoJapan – In Japanese
>> Read Phtonics Spectra article on Reverse NanoJapan – In English