College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Foulger sees Fulbright award as an opportunity to strengthen U.S. ties to Europe


Stephen Foulger of Clemson University is headed to the Czech Republic to conduct artificial-intelligence research and help strengthen U.S. ties to the Central European nation, an opportunity made possible by a grant he is receiving from the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Foulger serves as the Gregg-Graniteville Endowed Chair and Professor in Clemson’s departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Bioengineering as well as the director of the University’s Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET).

Stephen Foulger

As part of the Fulbright award, he will be researching memristors at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague and at Tomas Bata University in Zlín. Memristors are polymeric optoelectronic devices that can mimic biological synapses, raising the hope that they could be used in developing an “artificial brain” in the future, Foulger said.

Foulger has been collaborating with researchers at both universities for several years, and the Fulbright award will give them an opportunity to advance their work.

He said he looks forward to representing the United States in the Czech Republic, a member of the European Union.

“The grant provides me with the opportunity to foster not only research collaborations but also general goodwill and open communication between countries,” he said. “I see it as a chance to help revitalize U.S. connections with Europe. I thank the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for selecting me and all those who are helping make this opportunity possible.”

Foulger plans to be in the Czech Republic by September and return to Clemson in January 2022.

Kyle Brinkman, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson, said Fulbright awards are highly competitive.

“This award will help raise Clemson’s international profile as a top-tier research university,” Brinkman said. “Dr. Foulger richly deserves this award. It will give him an opportunity to broaden his experience and knowledge, which ultimately will benefit students and colleagues upon his return to the United States. I offer him my deepest congratulations.”

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