Duke, NC State Reverse The 'Rhodes'

Mar 14, 2013

Duke and N.C. State Universities are among eight schools in the country now providing scholarships for British students to study engineering in the US.

NC State students study an array of solar panels on top of the NSF FREEDM Systems Center. Vest Scholarships will go to British graduate students interested in studying energy production among other engineering projects.
Credit Marc Hall / North Carolina State University

The schools announced Wednesday they would start offering the Vest Scholarships next summer.  University administrators call the program the "Reverse Rhodes Scholarships." Rhodes scholars are Americans who spend time studying in the UK.  Dr. John Gilligan is senior associate dean of the N.C. State College of Engineering.  He says Vest scholars will work on what engineers call the list of Global Grand Challenges.

"They range from areas related to energy production and use to health care and use to security," Gilligan says. 

"So they're an attempt, and I think a good attempt, to bring to light the important problems that engineers solve on behalf of society for everyday use."

Gilligan expects the scholarships to be mutually beneficial for the U.S. and the U.K.

"Some of the areas identified for participation are making solar energy economical, and certainly that's important for North Carolina," he says.

"That will impact our state directly, I think, and also lead to a flow of graduate students from Britain and other places that want to work with us."

Gilligan says only a few students will likely kick off the program at N.C. State.  He and other engineers hope to provide scholarships to countries other than the UK and bring in more students as the program grows.