CHICAGO, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Cross-pollination of ideas among scientific disciplines is key to creative solutions, a U.S. nanotechnology pioneer says.
Building networks of outstanding scientists, engineers and clinicians will promote development of creative solutions to complex societal needs in an age of specialization, Northwestern University Professor Chad Mirkin says.
Mirkin is the founding director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology, an institute that brings together more than 190 faculty researchers from 25 different disciplines.
Mirkin discussed the IIN from inception to realization in a presentation titled "University Convergence Institutes" at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago.
"The IIN provides the essential framework to overcome traditional divisions between university departments and schools," Mirkin said in a Northwestern release Saturday.
The IIN is an umbrella organization for interdisciplinary research into transformative nanotechnologies including nanomedicine, nanomaterials and devices, nanotechnology for energy, the environment, security and defense, and nanotechnology solutions for food and water.
"It has enabled us to attract researchers with deep expertise in their fields, support and enable creative synergy, enhance translational capabilities and build one of the largest and most productive nanotechnology institutes in the world," Mirkin said.