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CAER’s Santillan-Jimenez Receives Fulbright Specialist Award

photo of Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez
As part of the program, Santillan-Jimenez will complete a project at the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté in France.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 7, 2021) — The U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board have named Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) a recipient of the Fulbright Specialist Program award. As part of the program, Santillan-Jimenez will complete a project at the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté (uB) in France. The project aims to exchange knowledge and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions and communities both in the U.S. and overseas through a variety of educational and training activities within engineering education.

”While a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship has given UK the chance to develop novel interdisciplinary curricula, the COVID-19 pandemic required the delivery of this content in a virtual format,” said Santillan-Jimenez, program manager at CAER and an adjunct assistant professor in the UK Department of Chemistry. “The lessons learned through these experiences present remarkable opportunities, including the prospect of courses taught by an international roster of experts and lectures that can be delivered to students irrespective of their affiliation and geographical location. This Fulbright Specialist grant will be instrumental in helping researchers at UK and the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté work toward the internationalization of academic and training curricula that can be accessed online both synchronously and asynchronously.”

Recipients of Fulbright Specialist awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field, and their potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

This Fulbright award will allow Santillan-Jimenez to build upon an already strong UK-University of Burgundy Franche-Comté partnership. UK and uB have a decades-long relationship that has allowed dozens of uB students to intern at CAER. Recently, this relationship has also allowed a number of UK students and researchers — including Santillan-Jimenez — to perform work in uB laboratories.

Originally from Mexico, Santillan-Jimenez first joined UK as an undergraduate research intern and then as a graduate student performing his doctoral research at both CAER and the University of Alicante in Spain. After obtaining his Ph.D. in 2008, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Utrecht University (The Netherlands) before retuning to CAER. His current research focuses on the application of heterogeneous catalysis to the production of renewable fuels and chemicals, with emphasis on the upgrading of biomass-derived oils to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels. He also participates in a number of K-20 educational initiatives designed to increase and broaden participation in STEM fields.

“Eduardo is the perfect example of how undergraduate research can change someone’s life trajectory,” said Rodney Andrews, CAER director and UK associate vice president for research. “Not only has his undergraduate research experience led to an outstanding research career but he has shown a remarkable commitment to opening doors of opportunity to the next generation of young scholars. Eduardo is a terrific research mentor, and has worked to provide undergraduate research opportunities to traditionally underrepresented student populations. He is most deserving of this Fulbright opportunity.”

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational and cultural exchange program, creating connections in a complex and changing world. Led by the U.S. government in partnership with 160 countries worldwide, Fulbright builds lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries — building mutual understanding between nations, advancing knowledge across communities and improving lives around the world. Santillan-Jimenez is one of over 400 U.S. citizens who share expertise with host institutions abroad through the program each year.

Since 1949, 261 UK faculty and staff have been awarded Fulbright grants to support teaching, research and professional development activities in more than 78 countries around the world. During that same period, more than 118 UK students have also been awarded Fulbright grants to support research and educational experiences in 48 different countries. Santillan-Jimenez joins more than 15 UK faculty participating in the Fulbright Specialist Program since its inception in 2001.

Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

For more information about the Fulbright Program visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.