Research: The Cross-Disciplinary Perspective
Dr. Alison Flatau, Associate Dean for Research and recipient of the 2010 WIA Educator award
Today—in communications, energy, new product design and production, the environment, health care, national security, transportation, space exploration—engineers face increasingly complex challenges and opportunities. A new perspective on engineering research is needed, one in which developing new collaborations between engineering disciplines is equal in importance to exploring the depths of each discipline. The Clark School has done much to foster this perspective, and with our new Kim Engineering Building we have created the perfect setting for achieving it.
Comprehensive Research Structure
We have anticipated the need for cross-disciplinary engineering research by establishing over many years a comprehensive research structure whose components organize our research efforts and make it easier for students and faculty, and for academic, business and government collaborators to understand the opportunities available and join with us. Components are:
- Individual departments, where faculty members, students and collaborators pursue new knowledge in their specialized areas (see sidebar).
- Engineering centers, some based in one department, some in multiple departments, in which groups of researchers and students focus on highly specific areas of work, often with strong ties to industry collaborators.
- Institutes, large organizations established by the university to promote a cross-disciplinary approach to broad areas of research, involving faculty and students from the Clark School and other university units as well as external research collaborators.
An Emphasis on Undergraduate Research
In an effort to produce more engineering researchers, the Clark School offers undergraduates both informal and formal research opportunities. Informal opportunities are those arranged with individual faculty members, typically through each department's director of undergraduate programs. Formal opportunities include an exceptional array of innovative undergraduate research programs such as
- A Scholars Program for Industry-oriented Research in Engineering (ASPIRE)
- Maryland Engineering Research Internship Teams (MERIT) and
- Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE)
REU/RET Summer Programs
- Cybersecurity (CS) Scholars - REU Program
- MERIT Summer Research - REU Program
- Molecular & Cellular Bioengineering Research Experiences for Undergraduates - REU Program
- Robotics REU Program
- Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Program Site: Connecting with Community Colleges
Graduate Research Support Opportunities
Special Graduate Research Programs
For graduates, there is a wide array of special programs, including opportunities within departments such as the L-3 Fellow program, Fischell graduate fellowships, the Lockheed graduate student support program and the Citrin Fellowships for graduate students. For more information, visit the research opportunities page.
The Kim Building: The Future of the Clark School
Nowhere is the Clark School's cross-disciplinary approach to research more fully realized than in the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building. In this beautiful and advanced facility, adaptable state-of-the-art labs are shared across departments to encourage cross-disciplinary work, and both large conference facilities and small discussion areas foster the exchange of ideas with internal and external colleagues. Technologies include optoelectronics, nanotechnology, bioengineering, microelectronics and MEMS, sensors and actuators, transportation systems and space research. The building's 10,000-square foot clean room is a major resource for multiple research programs.