New opportunities now open are for doctoral (PhD) and post-doctoral levels, but there will also be some grants available for scientific initiation (undergraduate research); candidates may study at the Imperial College, London, one of the ten best Universities in the world.

The Research Center for Gas Innovation (RCGI) has five call-ups open for researchers wishing to be part of its team, with two of the vacancies being for doctoral studies (PhD) and three for post-doctoral studies. The call-ups will be closed on 30 April and are part of an agreement signed between the University of São Paulo (USP), the Imperial College of London and BG Brazil (one of the financing agents for the Centre). The grants open the possibility of the candidate going abroad to take part of the course, or even the whole course, in another country.

“This specific program offers 25 study grants, with five being for post-doctoral studies, eight for full-time doctorates at Imperial College, eight for sandwich doctorate programs, also at Imperial College, and four for double qualification doctoral programs, all with the co-tutorship of a teacher at the University of São Paulo (USP). The grants will be distributed over a period of 72 months, starting in December 2014”, says the academic director of the RCGI, Júlio Meneghini, a full professor at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP), where the Centre is based.  He also informs that there is already a Poli student on the double qualification program, studying in the United Kingdom thanks to a grant offered by the partnership.

According to the RCGI schedule, six grants will be offered per year. Interested candidates should enter the RCGI website (/opportunities/) and then click on the “Opportunities” tab to sign up. The Centre currently has 28 ongoing projects, in which the students selected for graduate studies will work.

The open call-ups refer to five projects: Optimization of the natural gas supply chain, considering the costs of the life cycle and the impact on the environment; Geological and lithological characterization for the storage of CO2 in salt caves in the Santos Basin; Modelling of sustainable functions for gas technology in industry, transport, and applications to construction; Optimization of the field flow of cells operating on solid oxide fuels, with the use of numerical methods, and Hybrid solar-gas system for the catalytic restructuring of Natural Gas.

“Imperial College is one of the ten best Universities in the world, according to the ranking released by Times Higher Education (THE), published every year. It is also one of the ten most internationalized Universities in the world. This is an incredible opportunity both for the student and for the University itself, as far as internationalization is concerned”, the professor summarizes.

Apart from the grants offered by the partnership with USP, Imperial College and BG, there are also 40 grants for scientific initiation (undergraduate research) from FAPESP and four at doctoral level, offered by BG.          “In the agreement signed between FAPESP and BG for the establishment of the Centre, there are plans for another 40 grants for scientific initiation, for a fixed period of 12 months, and the possibility that four of these months can be taken abroad. There are also another four grants at doctoral level, with a total duration of four years, of which one year can be spent abroad”, Mr Meneghini stresses. On the portfolio of FAPESP, these opportunities are known as Trainee Grants for Research Abroad (Bolsa Estágio de Pesquisa no Exterior, or BEPE).

There will also be opportunities for graduate studies (doctorate) at the RCGI, through programs that POLI itself already has in place. “These are grants offered by CNPq, and are part of the compensation from USP for the establishment of the center. It operates like this: some graduate programs of the University of São Paulo (USP) have quotas of doctorate grants. We will make use of these quotas when there is interest from the student, the teacher and, of course, from the RCGI.”

About the RCGI

Guided by three complementary lines of research (Engineering, Physical Chemistry, and Energy Policy and the Economy), the RCGI is actually a mixture of two programs offered by FAPESP: the Research, Innovation and Diffusion Center (CEPIDs) and the Programs for Support for Partnership Research for Technological Innovation (PITEs). The partnership includes nine different departments from the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP), also the Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE), the Institute for Nuclear and Energy Research (IPEN) and the Institute of Chemistry (IQ-São Carlos), as well as the Faculty of Law, all of the University of São Paulo (USP); in addition, there is the participation of the Institute of Chemistry of the Federal University of São Carlos and the School of Medicine of the Federal University of São Paulo.

Another strategic partner is the Sustainable Gas Institute (SGI), associated with the Imperial College London. In addition, renowned traditional institutions are also connected with the initiative, including University College London, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Leeds (United Kingdom); the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Texas A&M University (USA); the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany) and the University of Lyon (France).