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New database to help faculty share international expertise

by Richard Veilleux - March 26, 2007

Nearly three dozen faculty have already signed up for a new international expertise database that will be used to match researchers with grant opportunities and connect faculty and staff looking for advice from others experienced with particular countries or universities.

“This enhances the capability of the University to participate internationally,” says Boris Bravo-Ureta, executive director of the Office of International Affairs, who will host the database.

“It offers a formal way for us to look to our faculty and staff for expertise.”

Faculty and staff can add themselves to the database by visiting http://oia.uconn.edu/intlexpertise.html, clicking on the “Join” link near the bottom of the page, and entering information such as name, department, and contact information, languages spoken, countries of interest, and type of work performed. Access requires a NetID and password.

Bravo-Ureta says there are hundreds of faculty and staff at UConn who have research interests in or expertise on other countries and would be glad to share their knowledge.

For example, Bravo-Ureta, a professor of agricultural and resource economics, is now preparing a grant proposal for training and research on rural development in Mexico.

And a team of researchers just returned from Egypt, where they were working on a project about women in development.

Participants in international projects such as these can both benefit from the experience of others, and share their own expertise with others.

“The database will give the University another opportunity to highlight and encourage such activities,” says Bravo-Ureta, “which support its internationalization efforts.”

Maria-Luz Fernandez, a nutritional sciences professor and one of the first to join the database, agrees.

“It’s very important that we all know what other people are doing,” she says.

“We can help each other in so many ways. I’m very comfortable going to Latin America or Central America, but if I’m going to South Korea or the United Arab Emirates, I’d really like to talk to some colleagues who have been there. It’s good to know what to expect before you go to a new country.”

Faculty and staff interested in meeting others with similar research activities, or who would like to discuss a visit to another country, can call Bravo-Ureta with their request.

He will research the database, make the initial contact, and bring the parties together.

“It’s very simple,” he says, “but a great point of departure.” 

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