Tammi Freehling and Cliff Djajapranata | February 6, 2017
For decades, professor Paul Helquist has partnered with colleagues in Sweden to send undergraduate and graduate chemistry students to each others’ laboratories—around 50 in total—to perform research at Notre Dame, the University of Stockholm, Gothenburg University, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm as well as the Astra Zeneca pharmaceutical lab near Gothenburg. Students from Notre Dame obtain valuable experience working in an international lab in a country which has a long-standing, strong program in science and engineering, particularly chemistry. Research in Sweden is conducted in English, making it easier for American students to acclimate in a foreign country, but Helquist offers two lessons a week on conversational Swedish for those interested in learning some of the language to boost their cultural experience.
Since summer 2014, Helquist has received grant funding through the National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students (NSF-IRES) program. The grant was recently authorized for a fourth year for summer 2017. Each summer, three students spend three to four months at one of the partner institutions performing fulltime research with their mentors. Research typically happens within the fields of organic chemistry, biochemistry, theoretical chemistry and the addition of physical chemistry this year.