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Valuing International Collaboration in Research


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Celebrating the 2017 ASPIRE nominees

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Valuing International Collaboration in Research

  1. 1. Celebrating the 2017 ASPIRE nominees Valuing International Collaboration in Research
  2. 2. The APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (“ASPIRE”) is an annual award sponsored by Wiley which recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in scientific research and collaboration with scientists in the region. These young scientists nominated by 17 APEC economies this year have impressive backgrounds and research in a wide range of disciplines that contribute to the ASPIRE theme of new material technologies. Here we take the opportunity to celebrate each nominee’s achievement, and they share their thoughts on the importance of international collaboration in research. Group photo at the 2017 ASPIRE Award Ceremony in Hanoi. L-R: Brad Fenwick, Elsevier, ASPIRE Co-Sponsor; Lisa Brodey, Acting Chair of PPSTI, US State Department; H.E. Tran Quic Khanh, Deputy Minister of the Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology; 2017 ASPIRE Winner Dr Yanwu Zhu; Chen Linhao, co-chair of PPSTI, China Ministry of Science and Technology; Susan Sutton, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Vietnam; Andrew Tein, Wiley, ASPIRE Co-Sponsor; Lê Thị Việt Lâm, co-chair of PPSTI, Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology; and Dr. Teatulohi Mataina, Papua New Guinea Science & Technology Council.
  3. 3. Dr. Dayong Jin AUSTRALIA Affiliation: ARC Future Fellow, Director, ARC Industry Transformational Research Hub for Integrated Device for End-user Analysis at Low-levels; Distinguished Professor, Institute of Biomedical Materials & Devices, the University of Technology Sydney Field of Research: Photonics materials, biomedical materials, chemical and mechanical engineering, solid-state physics nanotechnology, sensing technologies based on novel materials, anti-counterfeiting materials and technology, biomedical device engineering, fluorescent materials for super resolution bio-imaging. Trained as an optoelectronics engineer, Dr. Jin develops new materials into high value molecular sensors that enable time-resolved optical instruments to find disease cells earlier, quicker and with better resolution. His approaches, co-developed with his U.S. based collaborators, have become the international standard for background-free imaging By translating materials into device technologies for biomedical applications, I enjoy international collaboration across interdisciplinary fields, because I do not need to be the expert in everything but simply work with people with the required skills and avoid ‘reinventing the wheels’. This accelerates my daily efforts in directly improving our quality of life. Such a global challenge should be jointly overcome by a team of international collaborators.
  4. 4. Dr. Ying Woan (Yvonne) Soon BRUNEI DARUSSALAM Affiliation: Doctor (PhD), Universiti Brunei Darussalam Field of Research: Organic Solar Cells, Conjugated Polymers, Nanomaterials, Renewable Energy, Photostability Dr. Soon works in the field of organic solar cells, which is a promising low cost technology for solar energy conversion. Her study mainly uses a novel donor-acceptor type of conjugated polymers as the light absorbing nano layer thin film. The aim of her study is to establish relationships between material design and device performance as well as stability, since these polymers have great synthesis flexibility to tune optical and electrical properties. As an early researcher, international collaboration is the way to build up our academic career. For example, it is important for us photochemists / physicists to collaborate with synthetic chemists in order to gain access to novel materials. In addition, cross- disciplinary collaboration with international research groups can complement our research work with their knowledge expertise and sophisticated technique.
  5. 5. Dr. Zachary Hudson CANADA Affiliation: Assistant Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Chemistry, University of British Columbia Field of Research: Materials science, organic and organometallic synthesis, organic electronics, polymer chemistry, nanonscience Dr. Hudson’s research focuses on the development of photonic and electronic materials to address issues of sustainability in chemistry and materials science. His research team synthesizes new molecular and polymeric materials for applications in sensing, printed electronics, and efficient solid-state lighting. The group also explores the synthesis of functional nanostructures from soft materials, their self-assembly into complex architectures, and their emerging applications in nanoscale electronics. By working with colleagues from around the world, our research is enriched with new perspectives, ideas, and techniques. Furthermore, these international collaborations not only create scientific ties, but can help to build greater economic, political, and cultural bridges between nations. I am excited to begin my career at a time when global scientific cooperation has never been more widespread.
  6. 6. Dr. Juan Escrig Murúa CHILE Affiliation: Associate Professor, Universidad de Santiago de Chile (Usach) and Center for the Development of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (Cedenna). Field of Research: Nanomagnetism Dr. Escrig is a leading figure on the subject of magnetic nanotubes. His research has focused on the synthesis, characterization and modeling of magnetic nanostructures for emerging applications in nanoscale electronics. His theory on the processes of magnetization reversal of magnetic nanowires and nanotubes are used by several groups around the world. What I enjoy most about working with international scientists is the possibility of knowing other places, their cultures, their meals, etc. I love having conversations about the different educational, health, and retirement systems in each country. My idea is to learn about good things, to try to replicate them, and about bad things, to try to avoid repeating the same mistakes. In particular, I enjoy the exchange of students, because students from different places exhibit different experiences and strengths that enhance my lab.
  7. 7. Dr. Yanwu Zhu PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA Affiliation: Professor, University of Science and Technology of China Field of Research: New carbon materials Dr. Zhu’s research is in the fields of nanomaterials and specifically new carbon materials. His research has included such topics as hotplate growth and field emission properties of metal oxide nanostructures, large-scale preparation of graphene materials for energy conversion and storage, and the synthesis of novel three-dimensional (3D) carbons. Scientific research is a process which demands creativity and demonstrates novelty. Collaboration between researchers from significantly different backgrounds and cultures often brings new ideas by sharing the understanding on the same research topic. I have enjoyed the essentially infinite possibilities which come from the interaction with my international collaborators. That is an amazing experience. To some extent, my current research style has been shaped by my international collaborators, from different training and cultural backgrounds.
  8. 8. Dr. Anderson Shum HONG KONG, CHINA Affiliation: Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Medical Engineering Program, The University of Hong Kong Field of Research: Soft Materials, Microfluidics, Bio-Materials Dr. Anderson Shum’s research in new material development technologies has had significant impacts in biomedical, food and other applications. His works have led to commercial success in cosmetic industries and his inventions are licensed to companies working on materials. Examples of his work include developing the next-generation diagnostics-on-a-chip system using microfluidics with Shenzhen University and studying formation of mesoscaled particles with Sichuan University. Most scientists have an international mindset, probably due to the research education, assessment and funding systems; therefore, we have a common language on which we can harness local and technical expertise. Initially microfluidics research was pioneered by US scientists; as the field grew, scientists across the globe provided innovative ideas and concepts, resulting in new solutions and functionalities. Now, the research is translated to spur new industries, driven by where the market demands and manufacturing capabilities are.
  9. 9. Dr. Shuhei Furukawa JAPAN Affiliation: Associate Professor, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (WPI-iCeMS), Kyoto University Field of Research: Materials Chemistry Dr. Shuhei Furukawa’s research in the last decade has established the so-called “Mesoscopic Coordination Chemistry” research field, in particular, using porous coordination polymers/ metal-organic frameworks (PCPs/MOFs), a new class of porous materials, in which metal ions/ clusters are coordinately linked by organic spokes to form crystalline framework structures with intrinsic permanent porosity. His research focuses on the development of new synthetic technologies of PCPs/MOFs in the meso-scale (5-1000 nm) and the understanding of their unique properties. The resulting new porous materials are further considered for microenvironmental applications, such as electronics for molecular sensing and delivering molecules to cells. It seems that cultural backgrounds influence the way of construing science and of doing research. I really love to learn these differences and to discuss how we can make the research better by combining different scientific mindsets. I feel happy to be a scientist when my great international collaborators suggest a viewpoint or logic that I’ve never had before, and hopefully vice versa.
  10. 10. Dr. Min-Wook Oh REPUBLIC OF KOREA Affiliation: Assistant Professor, Department of Advanced Materials Engineering, Hanbat National University Field of Research: Thermoelectric Materials and Devices, Computational Materials Simulations Dr. Oh’s research in the past decade has developed new thermoelectric and energy-related materials and improved the world’s understanding of electrical, thermal, and thermoelectric properties at the level of materials, devices, and whole system. His main scientific research focuses on thermoelectric materials which has potential in waste heat recovery to produce electricity. He has developed novel thermoelectric materials: silicides, chalcogenides, skutterudites, half heusler alloys, and clathlates compounds, and thermoelectric devices with new architecture in shape, properties, and function. Working with international scientists is important because international collaboration can get rid of the potential limitations of my own research perspective and help me to identify the latest research trends. The collaboration can help to establish a standard and improve fidelity in emergent scientific issues. I participated in the international round-robin test to develop a testing procedure for assessment of thermoelectric properties, from which substantial improvements were achieved to report reliable properties by relevant communities.
  11. 11. Dr. Othman Mohd Hafiz Dzarfan MALAYSIA Affiliation: Associate Professor, Department of Energy Engineering, Deputy Director of the Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Field of Research: Membrane Technology Dr. Mohd Hafiz Dzarfan Othman’s work lies in the field of sustainable ceramic/polymeric membrane for energy generation, carbon capture, and water reclamation. His research team has successfully developed a novel photcatalytic membrane for the treatment of recalcitrant organic pollutants in water as well as an economical fuel cell for efficient electricity generation. In addition to scientific techniques and skills transfer, and knowledge capacity enhancement, international collaboration extends researchers’ access to collaborator’s laboratories, especially their high-end facilities and equipment. My research centre has strong collaboration with numerous research groups around the world and, via co- authorship in publication, the quality and visibility of our research papers have been enhanced. I also enjoy international collaboration to broaden my perspectives and experience different cultures.
  12. 12. Dr. Justin Hodgkiss NEW ZEALAND Affiliation: Associate Professor, Deputy Director and Principal Investigator, MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, Victoria University of Wellington Field of Research: Ultrafast laser spectroscopy of materials for next generation solar photovoltaics Dr. Justin Hodgkiss is a leading figure in the development of next generation solar photovoltaic technologies. These new organic polymer-based materials promise low-cost, large-scale manufacturing, but their power conversion efficiency must be improved. Dr. Hodgkiss has made decisive contributions to a large multidisciplinary research effort to develop efficient organic solar photovoltaic materials, leading to doubling their efficiency in the past eight years, rapidly approaching that of silicon. Working in a multidisciplinary area of science, it is very rare that all of the pieces of the puzzle will exist in the same place, which makes global collaboration an absolute necessity. In my lab, we develop and apply specialized ultrafast spectroscopy tools, which leads to natural connections with groups around the world who need to use those tools to study the novel solar photovoltaic materials that they develop.
  13. 13. Dr. Betty Galarreta PERU Affiliation: Associate Professor, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru Field of Research: Nanotechnology and Vibrational Spectroscopy Dr. Galarreta’s main research aspects include nanomaterials, surface chemistry, plasmonics and molecular biology. Her work focuses on developing optical nanosensors with applications in the food industry, and novel vibrational spectroscopic methods to characterize nanomolecular systems and Peruvian cultural heritage materials. International collaboration provides synergy. Researchers from different countries, with different facilities and resources, when gathered together can embrace a wider scientific problem and provide novel solutions, faster and more efficiently, than working on their own.
  14. 14. Dr. Andrey Enyashin RUSSIAN FEDERATION Affiliation: Doctor, Institute of Solid State Chemistry, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences Field of Research: Computational materials science The theoretical insight of Dr. Andrey Enyashin by means of quantum-chemistry methods has explained many peculiarities in polymorphism, crystal structure and electronic properties of the vanadate- and vanadia-based nanostructures, pushing ahead the application of these new materials for advanced micro- and nanosensorics. Steady population growth makes our Earth feel so small, where problems of one country can soon become global. A comprehensive and quick solution can be achieved only using the joint, yet independent, views from different nations. Being a theoretician I am pleased to be a part of the world’s community developing and commercializing the advanced cost-effective materials. International and interdisciplinary collaboration gives me and my global colleagues a great opportunity to strengthen both the fundamental understanding of issues and the efforts to improve people’s prosperity.
  15. 15. Dr. Yanli Zhao SINGAPORE Affiliation: Associate Professor, Division of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, Nanyang Technological University Field of Research: Integrated Materials for Biomedicine Dr. Yanli Zhao conducts research in an interdisciplinary area of chemistry and materials with an emphasis on the design, synthesis, and applications of novel integrated materials for targeted cancer imaging and therapy. He has outlined an independent blueprint for the research program that leverages his experiences in synthetic chemistry and advanced materials by using novel nanocarriers to enhance intracellular concentration of anticancer drugs in cancer cells, while minimizing their toxicity in normal cells. His discovery of innovative therapeutic platforms that can simultaneously target diseased cells enable the location to be imaged by optical methods, and release therapeutic drugs to the diseased cells by commands. International collaborations significantly advance my research. Collaborative research groups often have complementary expertise and experiences in the areas studied, and close collaborations could benefit greatly from the combination of different expertise. We conduct student visits, regular joint group seminars, and formal meetings to give research updates, solve problems, and discuss new ideas. Such collaboration framework accelerates the development of collaborative projects.
  16. 16. Dr. Yu-Lun Chueh CHINESE TAIPEI Affiliation: Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, National Tsing-Hua University Field of Research: Nanomaterials, Energy Harvesting, ReRAM, 2D Materials, CIGS Solar Cells Dr. Yu-Lun Chueh’s research explores unpredicted aspects of functional materials and enabling new schemes for the manipulation, processing and engineering of nanomaterials in nanoelectronics and energy harvesting applications. His extensive and impactful research includes the development of a novel, non‐toxic plasma enhanced selenization process to achieve a 30x40 cm2 Cu(In, Ga)Se2 solar panel with an efficiency of ~13.2 % and demonstrated light harvesting management by different micro- and nano-structures, as well as the plasmonic effect by metal nanoparticles in Cu(In, Ga)Se2 solar cells. He has also developed a solar thermal energy storage scheme utilizing metal/alloy/SiOx core-shell nanoparticles mixed with molten. He has developed a finely controllable synthesis of variously novel low-dimensional materials and explored unique physical properties of these low-dimensional nanowires toward industry applications, especially, a plasma-assisted chemical vapor reaction (PA-CVR) to form TMDs at a temperature as low as 250 o C. International collaboration not only allows me to become familiar with cutting edge technology, but also helps me complete more challenging aspects of my research projects. By working with international scientists, I can uncover the reasons behind unexpected results to enrich my knowledge. Recently, during our work on the low-temperature growth of 2D materials, I was able to identify all the intrinsic physical properties of 2D materials through global collaboration with two teams in the US.
  17. 17. Dr. Nuwong Chollacoop THAILAND Affiliation: Doctor; Head of Renewable Energy Laboratory. National Metal and Materials Technology Center Field of Research: Renewable energy, Sustainable biofuel for transportation, Biofuel standardization Dr. Chollacoop’s research has been applied to address the energy crisis in Thailand especially in the transportation sector. His research network on sustainable biofuel includes Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) work on biodiesel quality to support initial stage of Thailand biodiesel program. He has also led research in Thailand on “Innovation on Production and Automotive Utilization of Biofuels from Non-food Biomass” funded by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). With the complexity of the problems identified in research nowadays, it is inevitable to seek research collaboration not only from various disciplines but also from various parts of the world, where solutions may already exist or the discovered solutions could work elsewhere. In my field of renewable energy, especially biofuel for sustainable transportation, I have leapfrogged in advancing my research by innovating technology with my Japanese collaborators to address local issues in Thailand.
  18. 18. Dr. Liangfang Zhang THE UNITED STATES Affiliation: Professor, Department of Nanoengineering and Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego Field of Research: Nanomaterials and Nanomedicine Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on creating biomimetic nanomaterials for medical uses. By cloaking synthetic nanoparticles with natural cellular membranes, Dr. Zhang first invented a red blood cell-membrane-camouflaged nanoparticle platform that can evade the body’s immune system for prolonged and effective delivery of drugs. This work represents the first attempt to combine natural cellular membranes with synthetic nanomaterials to develop novel biomimetic systems. More recently he created the first ever cancer-cell-membrane coated nanoparticles for whole tumor antigen vaccination. These findings open a whole new set of opportunities for the society of nanotechnology and materials science. I think international collaboration provides new resources, both conceptually and materially, to researchers, which can extend the possibility of success. Through the exchange of ideas, results and students, such collaboration is oftentimes highly cost-effective, rewarding and productive.
  19. 19. Dr. Dinh Phong Tran VIETNAM Affiliation: Doctor; Lecturer and Principal Investigator University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (Vietnam France University) Field of Research: Functional Nanomaterials and Catalysis Dr. Tran is actively involved in research for novel catalytic materials for solar water splitting application. His approach is to learn the structure and function of enzymes to create novel efficient and robust catalytic materials. His first important contribution was during his postdoctoral stay at CEA Grenoble, France where he contributed to creating carbon nanotube – nickel/cobalt composites which displayed outstanding catalytic activities for both generation and uptake of H2 by mimicking the structure of hydrogenase enzyme. Dr. Tran also made important contribution in development of hybrid photocatalysts for solar H2 generation from water, and his method for loading catalyst onto surface of light harvester via a photoassisted electrochemical deposition process is now used by several research groups worldwide. In my opinion, international collaboration is the best opportunity to scientists in countries/ regions like Vietnam achieving the highest level of science. International collaboration is not only about access to state of the art scientific facilities but also about exchanging ideas with excellent minds. Sometimes with just internal force we can achieve nice science, but with international collaboration we can do even better.
  20. 20. Thank you to all the 2017 ASPIRE nominees for their contribution. To find out more about the ASPIRE Prize, visit