PhD students funded for three years on REACT will be matched with a Solvay mentor having expertise in the ACT project. Together, the student, U.S. PI and Solvay mentor will craft an internship plan that complements the ACT research. This 6-8 week internship at a Solvay facility will provide a valuable opportunity to (i) experience an industrial environment with its distinct characteristics (e.g., organizational structure; regular hours; safety and training standards; scale-up; products to market) and (ii) gain specific skills and knowledge in areas that will advance students’ research, such as formulation methods. Internship locations will be chosen for each student primarily based on scientific and professional factors determined to be most beneficial to the student. The ACT-relevant technical areas of the three Solvay facilities are coatings, formulation, and nanoparticles (Bristol, PA), nanocomposite films (Lyon, France) and organic electronics (Brussels, Belgium). After the internship, the Solvay mentor will continue to meet with the student to discuss technical and research-related topics, as well as career opportunities.
PhD students who are funded for fewer than 3 years as well as postdocs will be matched with a Solvay mentor, who will serve as a resource for informal interactions about technical and industry-related career topics of the trainees’ interests. Formal mentor-mentee events will be held once-a-year at Penn in conjunction with the annual REACT symposium to help facilitate and solidify these relationships. Most of the interaction with these industrial mentors will be through email or videoconference, with the frequency being driven by the trainees’ needs/desires.