Prof Jacob Jones Awarded Seed Grant to Expand Phosphorus Research Collaborations in Morocco

An NC State University professor with joint appointments at MSE and STEPS is advancing phosphorus sustainability research in Morocco thanks to a seed grant.

The NC State University Committee on International Programs (CIP) has awarded an Internationalization Seed Grant to Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor Jacob Jones in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. This grant, aimed at fostering global collaborations and initiatives, was granted for his proposed project titled “U.S.- Morocco Collaboration Building Toward International Phosphorus Sustainability.”

The grant, totaling $5,000.00 and supplemented by an additional $5,000.00 in cost share, was awarded to Jones following a rigorous selection process by the CIP. The award project will be used to support researchers to travel to the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) in Ben Guerir, Morocco, to nucleate and grow collaborative research opportunities on topics associated with phosphorus sustainability, which includes those associated with materials science but also related work in soils and plants. Some representative materials science challenges are associated with, e.g., the beneficiation process of converting phosphate rock into fertilizers, the waste valorization of associated tailings or waste streams such as phosphogypsum, and the development of new phosphorus characterization methods aim to initiate research and scholarly activities that address global topics, focusing on phosphorus sustainability through collaboration between the United States and Morocco.

Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor Jacob Jones

“Morocco plays a crucial role in global food security, holding approximately 70% of global phosphate reserves. We are pleased that this award will help us build important international collaborations with Moroccan researchers. This grant will enable us to address pressing global challenges in materials science and engineering,” said Jones in response to the announcement.

The Internationalization Seed Grant program at NC State provides faculty members with financial support to kickstart research, scholarship, and educational programs that contribute to the university’s internationalization efforts. These grants are designed to serve as seed funding, with the potential to attract additional external funding in the future. The award to Jones and his team comes on the heels of the two universities establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen collaborative research, education, and training programs.

Jones’ project aligns with the objectives of the Seed Grant program, which encourages faculty members to seek external funding to continue their work. According to the guidelines provided by the Office of Global Engagement, Seed Grant recipients are expected to submit proposals to outside funding agencies for further support, an activity that Jones and his collaborators have already started.

Furthermore, the guidelines stipulate that Seed Grant funds must be utilized between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. Recipients are also required to submit a report on their activities within six months of the completion of the project, detailing project outcomes and any subsequent external funding obtained.

“We look forward to Dr. Jones’ report on the activities funded by this grant and anticipate the positive impact of his research on international collaboration and phosphorus sustainability,” commented a representative from the Office of Global Engagement.

For more information about the Internationalization Seed Grant program and other global initiatives at NC State University, interested parties are encouraged to visit the university’s Global Engagement website.

This post was originally published in Department of Materials Science and Engineering.