U.S. Army and Singaporean scientists are advancing the future of nanomaterials through an exchange program between the countries.
Dr. Govind Mallick, a U.S. Army research chemist, recently completed a two-year assignment that focused on developing cutting-edge materials with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and professors in Singapore.
“I wanted to see how other scientists throughout the world are working and how their research is developed. You learn more through a diverse background. Singapore was a good match for my work in nanomaterials and nanotechnology,” said Mallick, whose home organization is the Army Research Laboratory’s Weapons and Materials Research Directorate.
Through the Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program, referred to as ESEP, Mallick worked in the Temasek Lab and the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, from August 2012 to August 2014.
Singapore is among the world’s leaders in nanomaterials research, despite a population of only 5.4 million people, so the assignment was a perfect fit, he said.
Mallick and his Singaporean colleagues published three technical journal papers on their research, specifically regarding two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride. He also linked the two organizations in a collaborative research effort to jointly publish a paper.
“These materials are critical to Army-related missions as they are high strength, lightweight, flexible, multifunctional, and have high thermal stability and conduction and improved electronic properties,” Mallick said.
Materials such as boron nitride could be used in the defense and commercial sectors for many applications, including protective coatings, he said. One possibility for the material is to coat combat vehicle parts because it can sustain temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius.
Scientists have been able to produce only microscopic amounts — six microns in diameter — of boron nitride. The next step is to produce the material in greater volume to continue the research progress.
Now back in the United States, Mallick is working to build formal collaborations between Singapore and Army Research Laboratory, one of the seven centers and laboratories that make up the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.
“I would strongly recommend ESEP to young scientists. It exposes you to collaboration and helps develop your skills,” he said.
Mid-career level Army engineers and scientists in Career Program 16 can apply through ESEP to work with an American ally for a year, with the possibility of an extension. Applicants may arrange for an assignment from one of 16 countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Chile.
Participants should be in General Schedule pay grades 12 through 14 (or acquisition demo equivalent) at the time of deployment, hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and have at least four years of technical experience in industry or military/government.
Yuriy Posherstnik, a member of RDECOM’s Global Technology Integration team, works with interested ESEP applicants and coordinates the packages before submitting them to the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation.
In selecting participants, the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation considers how an ESEP placement in a particular country will have in strengthening trust as well as the strategic impact of the assignment to the U.S. science and technology community’s mission to address the Army’s enduring challenges.
Posherstnik said ESEP election is based upon the following criteria: technology area, host country of interest, candidate profile, merits of assignment/position description, quality of application, foreign language capability (as applicable) and command endorsement.
The exchanges promote International Cooperative Research, Development and Acquisition activity between the participating countries by providing a basis for further cooperation and cementing the U.S. Army’s relationship with its foreign partners, Posherstnik said.
RDECOM is currently accepting applications for ESEP Group 11, Posherstnik said. Packages are due to the RDECOM Global Technology Integration team, in December 2014, with deployments beginning in October 2015.
For more information on ESEP, visit https://www.milsuite.mil/book/groups/esep. For additional questions, contact Posherstnik at (410) 306-4832.
The Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness — technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment — to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.
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