National Science Foundation and European Awards support students in Sweden and the US – WSU Insider

Students from Washington State University and Sweden’s Linköping University will participate in a pioneering exchange and research program in engineering and scientific computing, emphasizing the computing-based design philosophy that is supporting the international development of Boeing’s and Saab’s new T-7A Red Hawk training aircraft.

The aircraft is an all-new advanced pilot training system designed for the US Air Force, which will train the next generation of pilots for decades to come. As Boeing and Sweden’s Saab have long-standing ties to WSU and LiU, respectively, they will also support this program, which provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to learn how challenging designs are advanced through international cooperation of multinational corporations.

WSU was awarded $300,000 by the National Science Foundation to support WSU students in Sweden. The WSU-LiU team also received matching funding from the European Erasmus+ program and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education to support the LiU students at WSU.

“One of the objectives of this program is to graduate profession-ready students who are internationally educated and ready for leadership in a globalized society,” said Joseph Iannelli, a professor of mechanical engineering in WSU’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who is leading the program.

Jan Nordström, a distinguished professor of computational mathematics, and Andrew Winters, a WSU alumnus and assistant professor in computational mathematics will supervise the students’ research projects at LiU.

“LiU’s multi-disciplinary strategy with Boeing and SAAB projects will expand students’ preparation for international high-tech environments,” said Nordström.

“This project will also prepare students for employment opportunities with corporations that employ scientific computing and operate in the US and Sweden.” said Iannelli. Students will benefit from studying in Sweden and the US while gaining familiarity with the cultures of both countries.

Boeing and Saab will enrich this program. They will advise on aerospace-related scientific computing projects and mentor students, who will be offered opportunities for company site visits and internships. Students will also learn how computing-based designs lower development costs, increase first-time quality of prototypes, and decrease time to bring complex systems, such as aircraft, to markets.

“Boeing is proud to support the education of up-and-coming engineers through this unique exchange and research program,” said Craig Bomben, Boeing vice president of flight operations and enterprise chief pilot. “This partnership will prepare students for the engineering field and help them fulfill their career ambitions.”

WSU and LiU have been developing their international partnership for several years, after Iannelli’s 2018 outreach to LiU. After that, the two universities signed a memorandum of understanding and a reciprocal student exchange agreement.

A comprehensive internationally-ranked peer university, LiU emphasizes multidisciplinary research and manages Sweden’s National Supercomputer Center (NSC). “By pooling their teams and financial resources, WSU and LiU can advance education and research at the international level more effectively,” Iannelli said.

The three-year project will involve 42 diverse students; 21 from WSU and 21 from LiU. Each of the participating WSU students will receive a $12,000 fellowship. The project synergistically integrates two study-abroad semesters with a research experience and matched student cohorts. At LiU, the WSU students will be collaborating with an equal number of LiU students who will then complete an exchange semester at WSU. At LiU the Swedish students will assist the WSU students with the local culture and vice versa at WSU.

In Sweden, the WSU and LiU students will learn how physical systems function through computer-based simulations that rely on mathematical algorithms. The WSU students will also take English-taught courses at LiU and transfer their academic credits towards their WSU degree requirements. The program is expected to begin in January.

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