DGM-Press: What is the current situation of materials science and engineering in Argentina?
Prof. BOCCACCINI: Even if I left the country almost 30 years ago, I am in close contact with many colleagues and institutions in the country so I hope my answer is more or less correct. Argentina has currently 5 universities that confer the Materials Engineering degree. The oldest of these universities is the National University of Mar del Plata which has established this engineering degree in 1990. Here the National Institute for Materials Technology (INTEMA), which receives federal funding also from the National Scientific Council (CONICET), has a very extensive research program covering almost all MSE areas. Another important university providing materials science and engineering undergraduate programs is the National University of San Martin, via the Instituto Sabato. Some universities confer also doctoral engineering degrees in MSE. Certainly, given the interdisciplinary character of MSE, many other universities in departments of mechanical or chemical engineering also offer education in MSE in specific sectors. The SAM (Argentinean Materials Society) represents the MSE field in the country, it has about 300 members and it organizes annual scientific meetings. The SAM is the partner of DGM in MSE2018.
DGM-Press: Why is important the participation of Argentina as partner country in MSE 2018?
Prof. BOCCACCINI: Germany is one of the most important countries with which Argentina has close research collaborations, with Materials Science and Engineering being one of the areas with the most active research interactions between the two countries. This strong links in MSE are definitively supported and benefiting from a number of joint funding programs in the field. I am very happy that I could work together with the DGM and colleagues in Argentina as well as other Argentinean colleagues based in universities and research institutions in Germany, to put together what I hope is a very strong program to showcase the breath of research activities being carried out in collaboration by German and Argentinean scientists in the MSE field. In fact more than 50 colleagues from Argentina are participating in different MSE 2018 symposia, some of them are co-organising symposia and we have also Prof. Mirta I. Aranguren of INTEMA, as one of the plenary speakers in the conference. My hope that this notable participation of Argentinean colleagues (and students !) in MSE 2018 will raise even more the profile of the Argentinean MSE research sector in Germany (and Europe) and will lead to expanding existing collaborations and to the establishment of new bilateral projects, interactions and partnerships.
DGM-Press: You came yourself from Argentina to Germany as PhD student with a studentship, according to your experience, how is the interaction of students from Argentina in German universities?
Prof. BOCCACCINI: Indeed the number of students coming to Germany to complete their Master or their doctoral studies is enormous, not only because there are a wide range of opportunities (e.g. via DAAD) but also given the very high academic level of the University education in Argentina, in general, including the careers in Materials Science and Engineering, so that students from Argentina can rapidly adapt to the study conditions in German universities and in most cases successfully complete their degrees. The high number of researchers from Argentina who reside in Germany, temporarily or permanently, was reflected with the establishment of the Network of Argentinean Scientists in Germany, one of the strongest working groups in this Network is the one of Engineering and Materials Science.