The U.S.-Brazil Consortium for Sustainable Drinking Water Studies
Looking out over the water from high over Rio de Janeiro

This student exchange program among four universities will provide an educated workforce capable of operating in the international research environment and in a global market.

The Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla is the lead U.S. university. The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) is the other U.S. partner in the consortium. The lead university in Brazil is the Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC) in Fortaleza, and the second university is Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).

This educational exchange will help the US and Brazil prepare a new cohort of leaders who are prepared for and comfortable with working in the international arena. The U.S.-Brazil Consortium for Sustainable Drinking Water Studies project provides American and Brazilian undergraduate and graduate students in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, and business the opportunity to add a thematically-focused multi-disciplinary international dimension to their academic training. The focus of the exchange is to:

  • provide students at the consortium member universities an international study abroad experience;
  • expand engineering students' academic preparation beyond the traditional prescribed curriculum common to Accreditation Board for Engineering Technologies (ABET) accredited engineering programs; and
  • engage natural science, social science, and business students in engineering-related education and research.

This study abroad program is funded by the FIPSE-CAPES program, jointly administered by the U.S. Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and the Brazilian Ministry of Education (known as CAPES). The U.S.-Brazil Consortium for Sustainable Water Studies project will allow a successful international alliance to be achieved by understanding educational, technical, cultural, and language differences between the two countries.

Focus of Studies

One of the most serious health problems in developing areas of the world today is the lack of sustainable supplies of safe drinking water. The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals call for the reduction by 50 percent of the number of people who do not have sustainable access to safe drinking water. The World Health Organization(2005) describes a "high-disparit(y)" of rural inhabitants of Latin America (28 percent) who are poorly served in terms of access to safe water.

The following are objectives for the U.S.-Brazil project:

  • Establishing a theme-focused student international exchange program between the four consortium universities with associated international collaboration for faculty members.
  • Unlike traditional exchange programs, which focus on academic degree programs, the focus of this project is the study of sustainable drinking water in developing areas. This includes the study of water sources, water quality, water disinfection and treatment, water distribution, health-based water education, water economics, and other related topics.
  • The thematic approach is cross-cutting and is intended to attract students from engineering, natural science, social science, business, and the humanities. It is expected that the majority of the students participating in the program will be engineering students, but students and faculty from non-engineering programs will also contribute to and participate in the water studies. The program focuses on students at all levels from sophomore through graduate students.
  • Promoting cooperation in the development of teaching methods and teaching standards between the American and Brazilian Universities.
  • Providing an opportunity for the U.S. students to learn the Portuguese language, to become acquainted with the Brazilian culture, and to establish personal and professional contacts outside of the United States. Brazilian students will have the same opportunities during their studies in the U.S.
Map of Brazil with university cities marked