|Professor Manuel Garcia-Perez with research students in his lab.
PULLMAN, Wash. – Manuel Garcia-Perez, a member of Washington State Universityâs “clean energyâ team of scientists, is ambitious to develop the next generation of technologies to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. He is also dynamic in advancing this research through international collaborations.
Biomass and biofuels
“WSU already has many partners throughout the world, and working with them is a great way to gain new ideas on how to explore the challenging field of biomass and biofuels research. I find this personally and professionally satisfying,â Garcia-Perez said.
“The impact of dollar per outcome based on data collected, students trained or publications generated is much better when collaborating with the best labs around the world rather than simply relying on domestic collaborators or working in isolation,â he said. “We can do with $300,000 in funding what other groups can do with $3,000,000 by working collaboratively and leveraging the resources of our international partners.â
Support for partnerships
The Office of International Programs and Office of Research have partnered to support the international interests and outreach of WSUâs research, scholarly and creative community through workshops, strategic alliances, identification of relevant funding opportunities and interdisciplinary networking.
“Garcia-Perez represents one of many entrepreneurial faculty who are setting a new standard for international engagement that is resulting in high impact research, high quality publications and well trained students,â said Prema Arasu, vice provost for international programs. “This benefits WSU and our regional, national and international knowledge enterprise and reputation.â
Recently tenured as associate professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Garcia-Perez is exploring new innovations through fast pyrolysis (heating) technologies to produce advanced biofuels and chemicals from biomass materials such as forest residues and sugar cane bagasse.
He has a well-established track record of advancing his research through international collaborations with scientists in many countries, including the University of Twente in the Netherlands, Curtin University of Technology in Australia and Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil.
Based on SciVerse Scopus, the worldâs largest bibliographic database – to which WSU has a license – 70 percent of Garcia-Perezâs peer-reviewed publications over the last five years have involved co-authors at premier international research institutions.
Rewards of collaboration
International alliances are critical for a variety of reasons. They provide opportunities for sharing high technology equipment, interaction with talented students and postdoctoral fellows, professional development, leveraging funding from various sources and cultivation of long-term friendships.
“The U.S. scientific community benefits from more robust international partnerships to address global development challenges,â said Subra Suresh, president of Carnegie Mellon University and former director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (Science July 8, 2011).
“We can use each otherâs strengths to achieve research milestones and to overcome many of the resource constraints we might typically face,â agreed Garcia-Perez.
“International funding and scholarships also support student exchange programs – bringing international students to the United States and sending our domestic students to the universities and research institutes of our foreign partners,â he said. “For instance, in the last few years, various scholarships have facilitated seven student exchanges with my collaborators.â
He is particularly proud that his exchange student from the University of Twente received the 2012 Shell Bachelor Prize for his undergraduate thesis.