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100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Announces New Grant Winning Institutions: ExxonMobil Corporation Funds Fourth Group of Higher Education Partnerships

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The U.S. Department of State and Partners of the Americas announce new grant recipients in the latest 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grant competition.

The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the U.S. Department of State’s signature education initiative in the Western Hemisphere region for leveraging commitments from public and private sectors, regional governments, and higher education networks to expand academic mobility, increase student exchange and training programs, strengthen regional education cooperation, and enhance workforce development in the Americas.

The Innovation Fund inspires U.S. universities and colleges to team up with higher education institutions in Latin America to create new exchange and training opportunities.  Innovation Fund partnerships build bridges of connectivity and provide students with critical access to new training programs to work in teams, gain technical and linguistic skills, solve real-world problems, and become better prepared for today’s workforce.  Since its inception in January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 198 grants to teams of 362 higher education institutions in 25 countries and 42 U.S. States. 

The grant-winning teams announced today in the ExxonMobil sponsored Innovation Fund competition will support 11 new partnerships between 26 universities and colleges in the United States with higher education institutions in Guyana, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.  These new Innovation Fund teams will provide access to groundbreaking academic exchange programs for students to work in teams and gain technical skills in various academic disciplines, including Mechanical Engineering, Geology, Manufacturing, Water/Energy Infrastructure, Applied Health Sciences, and Robotics.

“ExxonMobil’s early-on leadership and commitment to the Innovation Fund has been pivotal to the overall expansion and regional impact of the Fund in the last four years,” said Kimberly Breier, Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.  “ExxonMobil has been a visionary partner in our public/private sector collaboration supporting the Innovation Fund to build bridges of connectivity and opportunity in the Americas.  More students in the United States are working in teams with students in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, and Mexico to solve real-world problems and gain technical and linguistic skills in key areas of STEM, Physics, Engineering, Water/Energy, and Robotics.”

“ExxonMobil has a long history of supporting efforts to improve education in the U.S. and around the world,” said Craig Kelly, senior director for the Americas, international government relations, at ExxonMobil Corporation. “Through the Innovation Fund, students are learning practical application of disciplines such as geology, geophysics and engineering in real-world scenarios. In addition, they’re building valuable cultural awareness and relationship-building skills, all of which will prepare them for entering the workforce.”

This is the fourth ExxonMobil-sponsored Innovation Fund competition, and as a result, 35 Innovation Fund grants have been awarded to 67 teams of higher education institutions in 19 U.S. states with universities in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Mexico.  Over 600 students in these countries benefit directly from ExxonMobil Innovation Fund partnerships.

Innovation Fund grants are usually $25,000 each—with additional resources on average of 1.8 times from winning teams—to implement new and sustainable exchange and training programs for students in the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.  Currently, over 1,860 higher education institutions are part of the Innovation Network – including 1,000 universities/colleges in the United States.


The NEW ExxonMobil Innovation Fund winning teams announced on March 19, 2019 are:


  • Alcorn State University, Mississippi, United States
  • University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana

Building Capacity for International Mobility in Engineering Technology

Alcorn State University and the University of Guyana will design a new exchange program in the field of engineering. Students in this bilateral exchange course will engage in research in areas of Electrical and Electronics Engineering; Electromechanical Engineering Technology; Robotics and Automation; and Applied Physics (Health Physics).


  • California State University, Fullerton, California, United States
  • CETYS Universidad – Mexicali, Mexicali, Mexico

CSUF-CETYS: Bilateral Student Mobility for Project-based Curricular Study Abroad Program

California State University, Fullerton, along with CETYS Universidad, will implement a new student exchange program that will focus on civil and mechanical engineering, and that will culminate with students participating in joint engineering projects to present in the International Symposium on Engineering Project Prioritization (ISEPP 2020) in Mexico.


  • Northern Arizona University, Arizona, United States
  • Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina
  • Universidad Nacional de Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia, Argentina
  • Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas (CADIC), Ushuaia, Argentina
  • Universidad Tecnológica de Hermosillo, Hermosillo, Mexico

Leaders United for Positive Energy (LUPE)

Northern Arizona University, in partnership with Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Universidad Nacional de Tierra del Fuego, and Universidad Tecnológica de Hermosillo, will collaborate among four institutions to create a new academic exchange programs that will provide students with access to new opportunities to study ethical science and social responsibility in energy sectors.  Students will work in teams to create Action Plans to share with at their universities and with policy makers in the U.S, Argentina, and Mexico.


  • Texas A&M University, Texas United States
  • Universidad Politécnica de Yucatán, Ucú, Mexico

Introduction to Research: Collaboration and Exchange

Texas A&M University, in partnership with Universidad Politécnica de Yucatán, will embark on an expanded collaboration that will increase students’ hands-on research cooperation to participate in presenting projects at Texas A&M University’s Engineering Learning Community Introduction to Research (ELCIR) Program.


  • Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Cholula, Mexico
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia, United States

Innovation, Diversity and Language Training through Physics Studies Abroad

Universidad de las Américas Puebla and Virginia Commonwealth University will develop a new, exchange program designed to give students the opportunity to participate in the joint Physics Studies Abroad Program (PSAP), which focuses on language training, service learning provide support to local immigrant communities, and a virtual conference post-travel.


  • Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Bernal, Argentina
  • Texas A&M International University, Texas, United States

Robotics and Industrial Automation in Real Life Applications

In a new partnership, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes and Texas A&M International University will create a program to focus on in a new collaborative process in the field of Robotics and Industrial Automation Engineering, with special emphasis in real-life applications. The bilateral student mobility program will end with students participating in a video conference with a broad dissemination of the academic and social results to local and national media.


  • Universidad Politécnica de Guanajuato, Cortazar, Mexico
  • Texas State University, Texas, United States
  • Lamar University, Texas, United States

Building Bridges for New Innovators in Engineering (BBNIE)

Universidad Politécnica de Guanajuato, Texas State University, and Lamar University have created the “Building Bridges for New Innovators in Engineering” program which aims to develop an engineering bootcamp, allowing STEM students to further develop their engineering skills using 21st century.


  • Universidad Nacional de Río Negro, Viedma, Argentina
  • University of Arizona, Arizona, United States

Deciphering the Neuquén Basin History: From Patagonia Natural Laboratories to Arizona Technical Laboratories

Universidad Nacional de Río Negro and University of Arizona seeks to provide students with the opportunity to interact with experts in the fields of tectonics, sedimentary geology, and geochronology-thermochronology as well as to gain experience both in the laboratory and in the field.


  • The University of New Mexico, New Mexico, United States
  • Universidad de Sonora, Hermosillo, Mexico
  • Instituto Tecnológico de Hermosillo, Hermosillo, Mexico

Developing Resilient Communities & Workforce Capacity in the ‘Hot Deserts’ of North America

University of New Mexico, Universidad de Sonora, and Instituto Tecnológico de Hermosillo will develop a bilateral student mobility program in response to regional and international need concerning the potential for droughts, wildfires, and flashfloods. Students will develop regional-specific scientific knowledge around resilient materials on the hot deserts of North America and will enhance academic preparation and focused workforce development.


  • University of North Texas, Texas, United States
  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Centro de Ingeniería y Desarrollo Industrial (CIDESI), Querétaro, Mexico

Additive Manufacturing Interuniversity Program Initiative

Together, the University of North Texas and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México with CIDESI will invite participating students to enroll in a Summer School study abroad course focused on the development of technical and scientific skills in Additive Manufacturing.


  • The University of Texas at El Paso, Texas, United States
  • Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil

U.S.-Brazil Transdisciplinary Study Abroad Program on Peace Engineering

University of Texas at El Paso and Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná have developed a new study abroad program for students that will focus on peace engineering to train future engineers on finding innovative engineering solutions through an understanding of the balance between sustainability, social equity, entrepreneurship, community engagement, innovation, and leadership to improve the well-being of people.

Learn more about these new Innovation Fund grant-winning institutions and projects at:   www.100kstrongamericas.org/category/meet-the-winners/.


The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the dynamic public-private sector collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassies, Partners of the Americas, NAFSA, companies,  foundations, and regional governments working together to stimulate and support new higher education partnerships between the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

The central mechanism to support this signature hemispheric-wide education initiative of the Bureau of the Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State is the Innovation Fund that builds bridges of opportunity and connectivity, enhances institutional capacity, increases academic exchanges, and strengthens regional education cooperation throughout the Americas.  Since January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 198 grants to more than 360 teams of universities and colleges in 25 countries and in 42 U.S. states.  Innovation Fund partnerships between universities and colleges, students from the United States and the rest of the Americas build bridges of connectivity, create opportunity, provide critical access to training programs, and contribute to workforce development. Currently, over 1,860 higher education institutions form part of the Innovation Network— with 1,000 universities and colleges in the United States.

The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964, under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC.  Learn more at www.partners.net or via Twitter @partnersamerica.

With 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest non-profit professional association dedicated to international education program and policy.  Learn more: www.nafsa.org and www.connectingourworld.org or via Twitter @NAFSA and @ConnectOurWorld.

ExxonMobil Corporation, the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs. ExxonMobil engages in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, with a focus on math and science in the United States, promote women as catalysts for economic development, and combat malaria. In 2017, together with its employees and retirees, ExxonMobil, its divisions and affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation provided $204 million in contributions worldwide. Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contribution programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com.

Press contact: Rachel Falek | rfalek@partners.net