The power of global research opportunities

Professor Thomas Web­ster, who pio­neered the use of nan­otech­nology for improving med­ical devices,  knows the value of inter­na­tional research expe­ri­ences for chem­ical engi­neering stu­dents: They expand stu­dents’ sci­en­tific and cul­tural per­spec­tives, and pro­vide insight into other coun­tries’ reg­u­la­tory and approval processes. Such insight could not only spark advances in research method­ology on both sides of the ocean; it could also give stu­dents an edge in knowing where to fast-track bio­med­ical products—a boon for sub­se­quent co-op and work placements.

But he knows, too, that such oppor­tu­ni­ties are lim­ited because of the exten­sive in-class course require­ments of the major.

All of that fac­tored into the devel­op­ment of Northeastern’s chem­ical engi­neering Global Exchange Pro­gram, a two-month summer practicum that Web­ster launched in 2014 to offer under­grad­u­ates the chance to earn upper-level engi­neering credits by per­forming hands-on research in seven uni­ver­si­ties around the world. The pro­gram also gives stu­dents at those uni­ver­si­ties a chance to do research at Northeastern.

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