About IMI-SEE Print E-mail


The International Materials Institute for Solar Energy and Environment (IMI-SEE) was launched in Fall 2009 by Northwestern University in partnership with Louisiana State University and a network of ten universities in China. The Institute is funded under the NSF International Materials Institute (NSF-IMI) program managed by the NSF Division of Materials Research, Office of Special Programs. The role of an NSF-IMI is to coordinate collaborative research and education among international partners and establish programs and mechanisms that support this goal. For more information, visit the NSF website.


Our mission is to foster leading edge materials research in critical areas of solar energy conversion and environmental protection through global cooperation and global leadership training.


Our research and education programs focus on three topical areas, with a cross-cutting focus on nano-structured materials:

  1. Solar to Electric Energy Conversion
  2. Solar to Fuel Energy Conversion
  3. Nanotoxicology / Control of air pollutants, combustion, aerosol processes

Our education programs emphasize (a) the development of courses and lectures to be shared by our partners and (b) global leadership development for graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty.


  1. Foster and coordinate international collaborative research among US, Chinese, and other global partners;
  2. Launch joint education programs for course sharing, research training, and global leadership development;
  3. Establish multi-sector partnerships with academic, industry and government labs;
  4. Lead the development of shared research facilities and networking capabilities in support of our IMI-SEE mission, including a series of jointly funded Global E-Institutes that will support long-term collaborative research and education.

Programs and Activities

  1. Networking Events: workshops, webcasts, symposia, etc.
  2. Development of educational materials for international use, including lectures and short courses on solar energy and environmental topics
  3. Global Leadership development  for students, postdocs, and junior faculty
  4. Exchanges between the US and China: research visits, research training workshops, etc. 
  5. Cyberinfrastructure Support: Online collaboration features for IMI members.

IMI Affiliates and Participating Institutions

The IMI is headquartered at Northwestern University and has a Chinese office at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The IMI currently includes researchers from 15 affiliated institutions in the US and 12 affiliates in China.

In addition to these affiliated institutions, IMI programs and events have engaged participants from the following organizations.

We are expanding our multisector partnerships in both countries. In particular, we aim to build strong industrial partnerships to ensure the relevance of our research and education programs.

Last Updated on Friday, May 04 2012 13:15