French Delegation Visits Penn Engineering, Establishes Research and Education Exchange

Penn Engineering hosted a large delegation from the Rhone-Alpes Region of France in order to explore mutual interests in research and education. Led by Jean-Jack Queyranne, President of the Region, the delegation included representatives from government, industry, and the region's higher education institutions. Their visit to Penn was preceded by stops in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, where they were hosted by Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Corbett. After presentations from leading Penn faculty on research activities in nanotechnology, energy, advanced materials and education, several Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) were officially signed. The team also received a tour of Penn's new Singh Center for Nanotechnology.

This occasion provided the venue for Penn Engineering and the École Centrale de Lyon (ECL), one of France's leading engineering and technology institutions, to sign a MOU to formalize an institutional relationship.  This linkage will give students and faculty from both schools the opportunity to share in the exchange of information and scholarly publications, develop and implement cooperative research and educational programs, and receive students and scientists from the partner institution for periods of study and research.  Present to sign the exchange agreement were Eduardo D. Glandt, Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering, and ECL researcher Sandrine Bec, representing Frank Debouck, Director of the École Centrale Lyon. This international agreement is part of a continuing series of program initiatives that supports the Penn Compact's commitments to global engagement and integrating knowledge. "Penn Engineering welcomes this opportunity to share ideas with new students and colleagues across the world," Glandt said. "We look forward to a strong and growing partnership between our two schools."

Penn Engineering and ECL currently have a research project supported by both the National Science Foundation in the U.S., and the Agence National de la Recherche in France. This collaboration is led by Robert Carpick, Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and Julien Fontaine and Sandrine Bec, research scientists from École Centrale's Tribology and Systems Dynamics Laboratory. The team is studying how to achieve low friction and wear in thin film coatings made of carbon and silicon, which has applications in automotive technology, aerospace components, and computer hard disks.

"This agreement will let Penn and École Centrale build on our successful interactions to create new opportunities for international exchanges and collaborations between two great Engineering schools," said Carpick. "I'm excited to move forward and welcome everyone's participation."

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