IMI-SEE Shanghai 2011

International Materials Institute for Solar Energy and Environment



IMI-SEE was launched in the fall of 2009 by Northwestern University in partnership with Louisiana State University and a network of ten universities in China. The Institute was funded under the NSF International Materials Institute (NSF-IMI) program managed by the NSF Division of Materials Research, Office of Special Programs. The role of NSF-IMI was to coordinate collaborative research and education among international partners and establish programs and mechanisms that support this goal.

IMI-SEE established two multisector collaborative research and global networks in the US and China with a grant of $4 million from NSF.

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The mission of IMI-SEE was to foster leading edge materials research in critical areas of solar energy conversion and environmental protection through global cooperation and global leadership training.

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IMI-SEE research and education programs focused on three topical areas, with a cross-cutting focus on nano-structured materials:

  1. Solar to Electric Energy Conversion
  2. Solar to Fuel Energy Conversion
  3. Nanotoxicology / Control of air pollutants, combustion, aerosol processes

IMI-SEE education programs emphasized (a) the development of courses and lectures to be shared by our partners and (b) global leadership development for graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty.

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  1. Foster and coordinate international collaborative research among US, Chinese, and other global partners
  2. Launch joint education programs for course sharing, research training, and global leadership development
  3. Establish multi-sector partnerships with academic, industry, and government labs
  4. Lead the development of shared research facilities and networking capabilities in support of our IMI-SEE mission, including a series of jointly funded Global E-Institutes that will support long-term collaborative research and education

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Programs and Activities

  1. Networking events: workshops, webcasts, symposia, etc.
  2. Development of educational materials for international use, including lectures and short courses on solar energy and environmental topics
  3. Global leadership development for students, postdocs, and junior faculty
  4. Exchanges between the US and China: research visits, research training workshops, etc.
  5. Cyberinfrastructure support: online collaboration features for IMI members.

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IMI Affiliates and Participating Institutions

The IMI was headquartered at Northwestern University and had a Chinese office at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The IMI included researchers from 15 affiliated institutions in the US and 12 affiliates in China.