Rice University Professors Receive 100K Strong Innovation Fund Award

The award is part of the 2022 U.S.-Andean Innovation Fund Grant Competition

César A. Uribe and Diego Patino

Assistant professors César A. Uribe  and Santiago Segarra, in partnership with Pontificia Universidad Javeriana’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) chair Diego Patino and director of engineering B.Sc programs Juliana Colorado have been awarded the 100K Strong Innovation Fund award as part of the 2022 U.S.-Andean Innovation Fund Grant Competition.

The award-winning proposal “Rice-Javeriana Research Exchange Program for the 4th Industrial Revolution,” is a new partnership between Rice and Javeriana with three main objectives: establish long-term, binational scientific cooperation through research and academic alliances centered on Convergent Technologies – Industry 4.0; develop inclusive, effective, and hands-on knowledge transfer initiatives between the two countries; and increase the number of students working to gain critical skills in the Convergent Tech – Industry 4.0 fields by providing access to international experiences. 

The award  recognizes Rice in the field of international education, and is a sign of global commitment, as it ensures the two-way mobility between the U.S. and Latin America – in this case, with Colombia. ‘People-to-people diplomacy’ is at its core," said Adria Baker, associate vice provost for international education and executive director of the Office of International Students and Scholars at Rice.

“Collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Javeriana is significant on many levels. We have had connections with this university already through academic workshops, graduate student research and presentations on topics regarding special support for graduate students.”

The partnership between Rice and Javeriana has been built in the last three years. In 2019, Uribe, Louis Owen Assistant Professor of ECE and the lead investigator on the project, offered a 10-hour summer course on machine learning and optimization theory for engineering students at Universidad Javeriana. That course started the collaboration and involved more than ten undergraduate and graduate students.Johanna Castellanos and César A. Uribe

Johanna Castellanos, a Ph.D. alumna from Javeriana who managed the collaboration was able to visit Rice as a result of the partnership. The project began with the work that Castellanos did as a visiting Fulbright scholar at Rice from 2021 to 2022. She is the first Ph.D. student from Javeriana to be co-advised by a professor from Rice.

100,000 Strong is a decade-long collaboration between the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. embassies, and Partners of the Americas, working with the private sector, governments, foundations and higher education institutions to create partnerships and training and exchange programs. 

As of February 2022, after 33 competitions, the 100K Strong Innovation Fund has awarded 306 grants ($25,000-$45,000 each) to 572 higher-education institutions working in teams in 25 countries and 49 states in the U.S. that have engaged some 9,800 students and faculty. Currently, more than 4,000 members have joined the 100K Network, including faculty and administrators from 2,300 American universities and colleges.

Uribe earned his M.S. in applied mathematics and his Ph.D. in ECE from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016 and 2018, respectively. In 2013 he received an M.S. in systems and control from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He joined the Rice faculty in 2021.Santiago Segarra

Segarra, W. M. Rice Trustee Faculty Chair and Assistant Professor of ECE, received his M.Sc. in electrical engineering and his Ph.D. in electrical and systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 and 2016, respectively. He joined the Rice faculty in 2018.