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Posted: May 21, 2012
IGERT online video competition offers public view of scientific research and its promise for a better future
(Nanowerk News) The 2012 IGERT Online Video and Poster Competition is showcasing the cutting-edge interdisciplinary research of 180 graduate-school students from 114 graduate programs funded by the National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. Through this competition, up-and-coming scientists use videos and posters to communicate their innovative, interdisciplinary research, which bridges traditional disciplines such as physics, engineering, nanotechnology, computer science, biology, and the social sciences to address complex challenges of our time. The online platform designed by TERC enables the public to view the videos and posters, ask the researchers questions, and vote for the Public Choice Award by "liking" their favorite presentations on Facebook.
"The Public Choice Award focuses on the importance of disseminating information about science to the public," says IGERT.org Principal Investigator Joni Falk. "In videos of three minutes or less the researchers have to make their research accessible to the public. This is certainly not an easy task and many students have done a spectacular job."
This year, there are 114 video and poster submissions that visitors can sort by topic, state, or university. They will see investigations into how to improve renewable energy; a demonstration of electric car technology designed specifically for commuters; the development of a robotic arm controlled by visual movement; experiments to isolate a gene for susceptibility to schizophrenia; and a study of how computers might be taught to recognize human emotion, among many others. Says Falk, "The Internet and social media now provide a means for the public to get a glimpse at the amazing research and discoveries taking place in interdisciplinary graduate programs across the country."
The National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program has been developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers with interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills. The program is intended to establish new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. It is also intended to facilitate diversity in student participation and preparation, and to contribute to a world-class, broadly inclusive, and globally engaged science and engineering workforce.
Developed and facilitated by TERC, IGERT.org provides information about NSF's flagship IGERT program and about each of its actively funded projects. It serves as both a virtual resource center and a collegial network for the IGERT community. IGERT.org and the 2012 Poster Competition were developed with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF/DGE 08-34992).