NSF Launches Third Generation of Engineering Research Centers with Awards Totaling $92.5 Million

Five new centers will pursue innovations in biorenewable chemicals, green energy systems, communications networks, medical implants and smart lighting. 

October 6, 2008

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces the establishment of five new NSF Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) for the development of interdisciplinary research and education programs in partnership with industry. The NSF ERCs share the goal of advancing knowledge, technology, and innovations that address significant societal problems and provide the workforce and technical foundation for economic competitiveness. NSF will invest approximately $92.5 million in the centers over the next five years.

Since 1985, the ERC program has fostered broad-based research and education collaborations among university and industry partners to focus on technological breakthroughs that lead to new products and services and on strengthening the capacity of U.S. engineering graduates to compete in global markets. The five centers launched this fall initiate a third generation of NSF ERCs that places increased emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, partnerships with small research firms and international collaboration and cultural exchange.

"The Gen-3 ERCs have been designed to build on the well-developed understanding laid down by the two previous generations of ERCs," says Lynn Preston, leader of NSF's ERC program. "We have added several new dimensions designed to speed the innovation process and prepare engineering graduates who are innovative, creative and understand how to function in a global economy where engineering talent is broadly distributed throughout the world. We expect these ERCs to make even more significant impacts on the competitiveness of U.S. industry than their predecessors."

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