International Sustainable Development Research Experiences

The Michigan Tech International Sustainable Development Research Experiences Program is comprised of two grants funded by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Developing Global Scientists and Engineers (DGSE) program.

The first brings together Michigan Tech students, Universidad Tecnologica Boliviana students, professors, NGOs, and Bolivian communities to work on sustainable development engineering projects to meet community needs. The program commences in May 2007 and concludes in April 2010. In 2009 we will also partner with public health students from the University of South Florida. Each year, three teams, pairing one undergraduate and one doctorate student with two UTB students will work on development projects for communities in Bolivia. The project work requires remote collaboration with Bolivian partners and culminates in a one-month residency in Bolivia during the (Northern Hemisphere) summer working with community partners. To date 26 students in environmental, mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering, as well as environmental policy have participated. More than 75% of the participants have been women. This program had its final cohort in summer 2009.

The second is a partnership between Michigan Tech, University of Dar es Salaam, and University of Minnesota to work on technology innovation to improve public health issues in Tanzania. The program began in Summer 2009 and will run through 2012. Each year a cohort (4 students from each school) are selected in Fall semester to pursue research that could lead to entrepreneurial activity targeting public health needs in East Africa. Students spend 10 weeks in Tanzania to gain valuable field insights. Research is passed on from each cohort in an attempt to move from concept to implementation to dissemination. To date 11 students in biomedical, environmental, civil, chemical and renewable energy engineering, geosciences, and public health have participated. More than 70% of the participants have been women; 91% are pursuing graduate degrees.



2007 & 2009

Web site

DGSE Tanzania:
This program has now concluded.


DGSE Bolivia:
This program has now concluded.


  1. Gain experience on international sustainable development research projects
  2. Investigate the sustainability of development projects
  3. Interact on a multinational team of engineers and stakeholders
  4. Create entrepreneurial opportunities from technological innovations


Students working on a research thesis (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.)

For more information contact:

Prof. David Watkins, Jr.

Prof. Veronica Griffis

D80 Center

Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295

Ph. 906-487-2520
Fax: 906-487-2943

Michigan Technological University

1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295

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