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WVU awarded grant from the 100K Strong Americas Innovation Fund to partner with Brazilian higher education institutions

Eduardo Sosa and Guilherme Pereira collaborating.

Professors Eduardo Sosa and Guilherme Pereira.

West Virginia University, and partner institutions, were recently announced as a grant-winning team in the 2021 U.S.-Brazil Innovation Fund Grant Competition, sponsored by the 100,000 Strong in Americas Innovation Fund.

Story by Tara Heffernan, Multi-Media Specialist
Photos by WVU Photo/Alyssa Reeves


Overall, the Innovation Fund will support partnerships between six teams comprised of 18 higher education institutions from the United States and Brazil, as they collaborate on research projects in areas such as artificial intelligence, food and agricultural sciences, big data and climate solutions.

The Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources will receive $34,249 from the Innovation Fund that will be used to study the future of mining in West Virginia and Minas Gerais, through a student exchange program. The student exchange program will also be financially supported by WVU Global Affairs, the mechanical and aerospace engineering department and the Statler College.

Faculty members Guilherme Pereira and Eduardo M. Sosa, from the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will partner with the Instituto SENAI de Inovação em Processamento Mineral and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, both located in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, for the student exchange program.

“We are certainly pleased to be selected again for a 100K Strong in the Americas award,” said Sosa. “As we did in 2019 with a similar award for a mobility program with Argentina, we hope to offer WVU students the opportunity to learn more about a region in Brazil with several commonalities with West Virginia. In the same way, the award will help Brazilian students to come and learn about our state and WVU as well.”

West Virginia and Minas Gerais have geographical and economic similarities, and both states are known for their mining industries. As part of the program, students from each region will participate in international travel to explore the similarities, differences and challenges faced in their home and visiting countries.

“Since I’m originally from Minas Gerais and an alumnus of UFMG, where I also spent most of my career, I’m very happy with the opportunity to connect West Virginia and Minas Gerais through this educational program,” said Pereira. “I believe this program can be the seed for future academic, scientific, and technological collaborations between these two beautiful states, which are also important mining regions in their respective countries.”

The WVU team will begin recruiting interested students who are in their sophomore or junior year for the program beginning in mid-October. Both groups will travel to their respective host sites during the summer of 2023.

WVU students who visit Brazil will visit research laboratories at the three partner institutions. They will also take field trips to local mines and tailing dams, visit Ouro Preto, a historic city in Minas Gerais that was the focal point of the gold rush in the 18th century and explore Inhotin, one of the biggest open-air museums in the world.

Brazilian students visiting WVU will take a tour of the campus and engineering research laboratories, visit the Mining and Industrial Extension simulated mine and participate in guided field trips to local mines and tailing dams. They will also explore sites around the Morgantown area such as the WVU Coliseum and the Coopers Rock overlook, and take a trip to Washington, D.C., where they’ll visit the National Mall and Smithsonian Museums.

“For some students, it is their first time traveling out of their respective countries, interacting in a different language, and learning more about problems they will face during their professional careers,” said Sosa. “We hope this new program opens their eyes to what challenges and opportunities lie ahead."

Since 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 282 grants, ranging from $25,000-$45,000, in 32 grant competitions, to 548 higher education institutions working in teams in 25 countries. There are over 4,000 members in the Innovation Fund network, including faculty and administrators from over 1,250 U.S. universities and colleges.



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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Phone: 304-293-4135