Department of Physics Initiates Research Collaboration with Pakistan and Sweden

A team of three academic staff members of the Dept of Physics (Dr.K.Vignarooban, Mr.S.Senthuran and Mr.K.Prashanthan) has received an NSF-PSF (National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka – Pakistan Science Foundation) joint research grant of 6.1 million LKR for a 3-year collaborative research project titled “Novel Materials for Secondary Sodium-ion Batteries and Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells”.

A 3-member NSF delegation headed by Professor Sirimali Fernando met with PSF officials at Islamabad, Pakistan in September 2017  and finalized the projects to be funded under this scheme. Out of hundreds of applications, only 6 project proposals have been selected for funding . This particular research project on Batteries and Fuel Cells is an initiative of the NSF to collaborate with USA-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Energy (USPCAS-E) . The USPCAS-E was established at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Pakistan in 2011 under a generous funding from the USAID and the Arizona State University (ASU) is its collaborating partner in USA.

Dr.K.Vignarooban, the present Head of the Dept of Physics, is the Principal Investigator (PI) of this research project on Batteries and Fuel Cells. He has gone through extensive research training in this area of research during his PhD (University of Cincinnati, USA, 2007-2012) and Post-Doc (Arizona State University, USA, 2012-2014) periods. Recently, he got a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) fellowship and is undergoing a research training under the direction of Professor Stefano Passerini at a world-renowned laboratory for battery research, the Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU), Germany  located at the birthplace of Albert Einstein.

The same group of staff of the Dept of Physics has also made initiatives to establish a long term research collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. As a first step, Dr.K.Vignarooban and Dr.J.Pitawala (Uva Wellessa University) got a fully-funded invitation from Professor Aleksandar Matic (Head of the Condensed Matter Physics Division) of the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden and visited there for two weeks in August 2017 to discuss about the practicalities of long-term Swedish-Sri Lankan research collaboration on Batteries and Fuel Cells. During this two-week stay at Chalmers, a mega proposal has been developed seeking funds from the Swedish Research Council. Professor Aleksandar Matic plans to visit Sri Lanka in 2018.