GERC - Virginia Tech Collaboration: GERC Director visits Virginia Tech

By Dr. Matthew Hall; Director of GERC, Associate Professor in Materials Engineering at the University of Nottingham and BGS/Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellow

Virginia Tech Research Center
I recently visited our Virginia Tech (VT) colleagues, firstly at the VT Research Center in Arlington before driving down to Blacksburg (…in the severe wind and rain from the tail-end of hurricane Joaquin!) It is always great catching up with friends and colleagues there but this visit was particularly epic.
The highlight has to be the VT Hokies vs. Pittsburgh Panthers football game at Lane Stadium. The weather was pretty grim but this did not dampen spirits one bit, drawing a pretty large crowd of almost 50,000 to the 65,000 seater stadium. It is a while since I last watched a US football game but we were soon well into it and having a good time. A particular highlight was the traditional ‘Hokie Pokie’ dance after the 3rd quarter. A VT version of our well known Hokey Cokey. Unfortunately the Hokies were without their star quarterback and were beaten but I will definitely be back for another game. We moved on to the Cellar for some light refreshment; a great hangout in Blacksburg and evidently very difficult to leave!

Aside from football, the main purpose of the visit was to organise various things in relation to the research relationship between VT and the University of Nottingham (UoN). After working closely for almost 10 years now we have built up a substantial record of faculty (or ‘academic’ staff for those in the UK) staff and students engaged, scholarship and journal articles, proposals and funding, as well as other collaborative activities.
More than 30 Faculties from the two institutions working together (propulsion, power electronics, bio materials and polymers, human factors & VR, advanced manufacturing, autonomous systems for geospatial, geo-energy/mining engineering)

-  Approximately 15 visits by each university to the other over the 5 year period
-  Approximately $1.3M in cumulative investment in building the relationship since 2009
-  17 joint papers published, 5 submitted and 2 under development
-  2 joint proposals submitted with several under development

-  2–MS and 4-PhD projects have been collaborative with VT joint supervision since 2013

-  24 Student research exchanges from 2012 – 2015

GERC Director Dr. Matthew Hall stood in front of the main entrance to Virginia Tech

One of the biggest outcomes was the completion of our arrangements for dual Associate Professor appointments; one based at GERC in the UK, and one based at the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER) at VT ( ).
Based in the Dept. of Chemical & Environmental Engineering at the University of Nottingham (UoN)
Associate or Assistant Professor in Geoenergy Engineering 
Based in the Dept. of Mining and Minerals Engineering at Virginia Tech (VT)
Both successful applicants will be embedded as one of several core academic staff either at GERC (UoN position) or VCCER (VT position). Through the UoN-VT partnership they will also hold the position of Affiliated Associate Professor at the other centre.

We are excited to meet the applicants and, once appointed, working with them to help take the UoN-VT collaboration to the next level!

I’m looking forward to my next trip to Blacksburg already J

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