Longtime UK-University of Burgundy partnership to expand

The expanded research alliance between UK and the University of Burgundy will connect programs at both institutions focused on bourbon and Burgundy. karandaev and Polina Shurygina, iStock/Getty Images Plus
The expanded research alliance between UK and the University of Burgundy will connect programs at both institutions focused on bourbon and Burgundy. karandaev and Polina Shurygina, iStock/Getty Images Plus

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 6, 2023) — They say Burgundy and bourbon do not mix, but thanks to a long-standing University of Kentucky relationship, that very well may be changing.

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and the University of Burgundy (UB) in Burgundy, France, have built a strong academic partnership over the past several decades, collaborating on an array of programs.

The strongest and most consistent connection, however, has been CAER’s relationship with a French public engineering school, the Ecole Supérieure d'Ingénieurs Numérique et Matériaux (ESIREM). For more than 20 years, CAER has hosted ESIREM’s material science students for internships in its laboratories.

Thanks to funding from UKinSPIRE (Seeding Partnerships for International Research Engagement) that relationship will not only continue but will expand.

The new project, titled “Expanding a Transatlantic Research Alliance (ExTRA),” seeks to further strengthen the relationship between CAER and UB by supporting:

  • UK faculty, staff and student research at UB.
  • Participation of UB researchers in UK research symposia.
  • Expanding research collaborations between additional departments at UK and UB.

CAER will continue hosting several ESIREM students each year in three to five month internships in its laboratories. CAER students and researchers will continue to perform research at UB and deliver lectures and seminars to UB students and researchers.

“The partnership between UK and UB has been both enduring and fruitful,” said Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, Ph.D., who is the principal investigator on the project and leading the alliance. “Funding from UKinSPIRE will allow for this partnership not only to be maintained but also expanded to connect other programs including those focused on wine and bourbon for which Burgundy and Kentucky are renowned. We are most thankful to the UK Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) and the UK International Center (UKIC) for their support."  

ExTRA will also support connecting UK and UB across other units related to those signature industries, particularly Distillation, Wine and Brewing Studies (DWBS) in the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits in the UK Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

As part of that effort, the Martin-Gatton College and UB’s Jules Guyot Institute of Vine and Wine (IVW) will develop a new and exciting partnership mainly focused on the exchange of students and researchers. UB researchers will also participate in UK’s annual Food, Energy and Water Symposium and the James B. Beam Institute Industry Conference.

“Internationalizing our curriculum is necessary to have our graduates be the best in the world,” said Seth DeBolt, director of the James B. Beam Institute. “A partnership like this one between the University of Kentucky’s James B. Beam Institute and UB’s Jules Guyot Institute of Vine and Wine provides the perfect mix of shared learning and student advancement. We are thrilled to be a part of this.”

UKinSPIRE is an internal funding opportunity for UK faculty, jointly funded by the OVPR and the UKIC. UKinSPIRE is intended to stimulate high-impact research projects in any discipline linking UK faculty and international collaborators and establishing collaborations with new international partner institutions or add greater depth to existing institutional partnerships. UKinSPIRE funding is specifically aimed at creating a strong foundation for sustained, globally-engaged collaborative research in all fields of study.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.