Logo: University of Southern California

USC and UNAM Engineering Sign Cooperation Agreement

Areas include student and faculty exchanges, collaboration on engineering research and development of distance learning
Eric Mankin
December 20, 2008 —

Deans Yannis C. Yortsos, left, and Gonzalo Guerrero Zepeda
A USC delegation of engineering faculty and administrators traveled to Mexico City in early-December  to initiate a collaborative agreement with  the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos  and UNAM Dean of Engineering Gonzalo Guerrero Zepeda signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a  relationship that will encompass a wide range of areas but will begin with exchanges of students and faculty.

"We believe interaction between institutions like these carrying on research at the highest level is very valuable," said Zepeda. "Technologies like the ones we will work together on can contribuite to resolution of many important societal issues." said Zepeda.

Yortsos paid tribute to UNAM's academic excellence and historic standing. "This is an extraodinary and excellent institution, a university that traces its roots back more than 450 years," he said. ""Engineering is enabling the solution of pressing societal problems worldwide. We are very pleased to have UNAM as our partner in these endeavors."

Viterbi School Associate Dean for Masters and Professional programs Kelly Goulis spearheaded the initiative that led to the agreement, helped by Associate Professor Francisco Valero-Cuevas of the department of biomedical engineering.

From left: Yortsos, Vidal-Valles,  Goulis, Valero-Cuevas

Potential areas of joint research will include:

  • Megacities. Study of the problems of huge, 10-million plus metropolises is a priority at the two institutions, which are both located in such areas.
  • Energy. The Viterbi School's  ongoing and new initiatives on energy, from smart oil wells to solar and the application of IT to energy, are of strong interest to both institutions.
  • Health. The increasing overlap between engineering and medicine is an important topic also of strong interest to both institutions.
  • Distance learning. Both institutions have active programs, and wish to expand, improve and enhance them.

The Viterbi delegation was invited to a formal luncheon hosted by UNAM's Provost Dr. Sergio Alcocer, General Secretary of the university. It also attended a number of meetings leading up to the signing with various UNAM faculty, including Ricardo Vidal Valles, Coordinator of Social and Constituent Liaisons; Ricardo Jose Padilla Sanchez, Chair of Earth Sciences; Francisco Javier Garcia Ugalde, Chair of Electrical Engineering; and Ernesto Riestra Martínez, Director of Continuing Education and Distance Learning.

In addition to Yortsos, Goulis and Valero-Cuevas, the Viterbi School participants included CiSOFT Executive Director and Professor of Petroleum Engineering Iraj Ershaghi, and Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering Co-Chair Alexander Sawchuk.

left to right: Ershaghi, Vidal-Valles, Goulis, Zepeda, Sawchuk, Yortsos, Alcocer, Valero-Cuevas, and Martínez