Merit Janow, Dean of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and Mary Boyce, Dean of Columbia Engineering, spoke at the ceremony, as did Provost John Coatsworth.
The hub, with an initial investment of $500,000 from Rio, will bring together professors from Columbia and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro's Institute for Graduate Studies and Research in Engineering. The goal is to engage in a variety of research and community service activities focused on local, regional and global interdisciplinary challenged posed in such fields as sustainability, smart cities, precision and personalized medicine, advanced materials and data science and engineering.
The hub is expected to collaborate on other projects through the global center network, which is led by Professor Safwan M. Masri, executive vice president for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University.
Trebat said the Rio de Janeiro Center will work with faculty from the partner schools and others on campus in 2015 to collaborate with the city in the design, planning and launch of the hub – estimated in mid-2016 – and anticipates playing a key role in its operation. Trebat said the hub fits perfectly with Rio's ambitions to improve science and technology education in the city and also with Dean Mary Boyce's globalization vision for the School of Engineering.
Once the hub is built, the plan is to offer fellowships for postdoctoral scholars drawn from the two universities involved and throughout the world.