SOFI is creating a new paradigm in cross-institution collaborative research with our Collaborative Exchange program.


Part cultural exchange, part research opportunity, SOFI’s Collaborative Exchanges fund students to travel to foreign laboratories to learn new techniques and advance research projects in both institutions. It’s an unusual undertaking in the world of academic science, explains Dick Co, managing director of SOFI. “Besides cultural exchange, we’re also funding science that’s unique and high risk; that’s somewhere in between chemistry and engineering,” Co says. It’s not easy to get these kinds of projects funded, which is why this program is so important. “This is money for science that falls through the cracks.” Not only is it difficult to fund unique projects like the ones SOFI supports, but it’s also hard for international projects to find funding. Co explains that, generally, organizations like the Department of Energy prefer to fund only domestic projects. SOFI recognizes that the reality is, research centers across the world are working on solar fuels technology, and everyone benefits from sharing knowledge and learning. Scientists also benefit from getting to know one another and developing relationships across institutions. “The people element is important,” Co says. SOFI will continue to look for opportunities to fund innovative projects through their Collaborative Exchange program and share the progress of these partnerships with the wider community.


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