Bio-inspired Materials and Systems is a Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program funded by National Science Foundation. The Program is led by the University of Delaware and by collaborators at the University of California-San Diego, the University of Chicago, and Case Western Reserve University, and by the Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. Other partners include Great Lakes Biomimicry and the Research and Evaluation Bureau at Kent State University.
PIRE: Bio-Inspired Materials and Systems brings together a diverse group of complementary researchers (across disciplines and international borders) with the goal of developing functional, programmable, and responsive materials for deployment in soft robotic systems.
The MISSION of the program is to develop new materials and structures leading to scientific advances and economic benefits through the collaboration of scientists and engineers with a breadth of skills and experience in a variety of disciplines. Working together they will develop new materials and processes that will lead to the development of innovative soft robotic systems.
Furthermore, this PIRE will train globally-aware biomimicry scientists and engineers. The skills they acquire by working in culturally diverse situations will transcend and complement their technical skills in the emerging arena of materials systems inspired by those found in nature.
The NSF PIRE Program: Recognizing the value of international partnerships in addressing critical science and engineering questions, the National Science Foundation (NSF) established the Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) program in 2005. PIRE is an NSF-wide program that supports international activities across all NSF supported disciplines. The primary goal of PIRE is to support high quality projects in which advances in research and education could not occur without international collaboration. PIRE seeks to catalyze a higher level of international engagement in the U.S. science and engineering community. It promotes excellence in science and engineering through international collaboration and facilitates development of a diverse, globally-engaged, U.S. science and engineering workforce. Read more at https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16571/nsf16571.htm#toc