LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Partners with Beijing

University Develops Dual Ph.D Program with Institute of Physics in China


LSU’s Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Institute of Physics, or IoP, in Beijing, China, recently signed an agreement creating a unique dual-doctorate program between the universities – one of the only such programs currently in existence.

In July, Dean of LSU’s College of Basic Sciences Kevin Carman, along with Professors Ward Plummer and Rongying Jin of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, traveled to China to secure the partnership with the IoP, which is a part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The resulting dual Ph.D. program will provide participating students with a doctorate from both institutions and give them exposure to experts at both institutions.

“This is a truly unique program focused on creating and training a globally engaged scientific community in the field of materials science,” said Carman. “We hope that this partnership between LSU and the IoP will serve as an international model for the benefits of educational exchange.”

The primary focus of this agreement is materials science, which is the emphasis of one of LSU’s Multidisciplinary Hiring Initiatives, or MHIs. Plummer, who was hired through the Materials Science MHI and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, will serve as LSU’s program coordinator. Jin and Professor Jiandi Zhang, both of whom came to LSU through the MHI, also played key roles in negotiating the agreement and will be instrumental in its implementation.

LSU’s materials science focuses on “advanced materials to assure a secure energy future,” and its recent investment in this interdisciplinary field is beginning to pay out significant dividends. One recent success is the DOE-funded Energy Frontier Research Center on LSU’s campus, led by James Spivey, McLaurin Shrivers Professor of Chemical Engineering. This center involves faculty across the Colleges of Basic Sciences and Engineering and places the university in a strong position to play a major role in developing solutions for our future energy needs.

“Materials science is a vital field of research that brings us new and necessary technological advances every day,” said Plummer. “This partnership will allow LSU’s expertise in the area to grow even stronger through collaboration with IoP researchers, and will give our students an international advantage.”

This new dual Ph.D. program will allow students to have advisors at each university. First, students will complete a course of study at either LSU or IoP. Once complete, American students will travel to Beijing, where they will spend a minimum of one year conducting research. Chinese students will come to LSU to spend a research year upon completion of their IoP studies. At the end of the process, all successful students will be awarded doctoral degrees from both institutions.

The program has already enrolled its first student, with more applicants expected in the coming months.

“This really is a win-win situation,” said Plummer. “This program is truly a joint educational exchange that should provide students at both universities an outstanding educational experience as well as a competitive edge in the job market.”

 

Additional Information:

Ashley Berthelot | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations
August 2009