Faculty & Research

Strategic Research Areas

Visioning Innovation Excellence and Leadership

Our vision for strategically focused research leverages our unique strengths to develop solutions that address critical societal issues facing our state, nation, and world.

The College of Engineering has identified five strategic research areas that are key global challenges where we can achieve greatest impact and excellence. To promote these research areas, the college's Strategic Research Initiatives (SRI) program builds interdisciplinary collaborations that inspire innovation and focus on innovation leadership through five new collaborative initiatives:

We envision Seattle and the UW to be leaders in defining the next generation of the "Smart City" in the 21st century, by leveraging technological innovation and human capacity to address holistically the social, economical, and environmental factors that constitute a healthy city. We are building a research coalition to address the complex challenges in urban networks, from infrastructure and transportation to managing climate change, from data science to hazard resilience and disaster response. We imagine Seattle and the UW as critical players in the future of Smart/Wise City research, addressing these critical challenges from multiple perspectives including but not limited to the technology, engineering, and science as well as the humanities, social sciences, and public health.

Strategic Goal: Make a Significant and Visible Societal Impact »

Current Activities

The MetroLab Network

The University of Washington and the City of Seattle have joined a new national network of university-city partnerships that will work on Smart City solutions as part of a new White House Smart Cities Initiative.

Strategic Goal: Create Industry and Community Partnerships to Increase Our Impact »

The Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans)

With dual themes of safety and sustainability, PacTrans serves as an engine and showcase for transportation research, education, and workforce development in the Pacific Northwest, with local and national reach.

Strategic Goal: Build Interdisciplinary Collaborations that Inspire Innovation »

NSF Visioning Workshop on Smart and Connected Communities Research and Education

A confluence of leaders from around the world, including leading industry representatives, to discuss and define a vision for smart and connected communities. Discussions highlight a variety of smart community topics, such as city planning and management; urban infrastructure and systems; emerging technologies; and social, cultural and economic challenges.

Strategic Goal: Create Industry and Community Partnerships to Increase Our Impact »

2+2 MOU

A memorandum of understanding between the State of Washington and the Chinese province of Sichuan as well as the University of Washington and Tsinghua University, to catalyze the science, technology and investment needed to grow innovations that will underpin adaptable and resilient urbanization.

Strategic Goal: Focus on Key Global Challenges Where We Can Achieve Greatest Impact and Excellence »

 

 

We aim to leverage interdisciplinary strengths in engineering and science related to freshwater at the UW, including substantial recent university investments in hiring new faculty and in supporting a focused initiative on freshwater.

Current Activities

Freshwater @UW

The collaboration between the College of the Environment, the College of Engineering, and UW Tacoma seeks to strengthen freshwater-related science, engineering, resources management, and educational capacity at the UW. The UW Collaborative Innovation Network in Freshwater Sciences and Engineering will coordinate research efforts and leverage UW funding to work on high profile water-related problems at local to international scales and will develop UW Education in Science and the Human Dimensions of Freshwater Issues at both the graduate and undergraduate levels across the UW.

Strategic Goal: Build Interdisciplinary Collaborations that Inspire Innovation »

Mountains to Sea

An initiative of Freshwater @UW to catalyze and facilitate water sustainability research at UW. Mountains to Sea addresses key questions directly relevant to the Pacific Northwest; efforts which can then be translated to national and global scales. The initiative is a joint venture of interdisciplinary faculty whose research areas include hydrology, carbon cycling, fisheries, and aquatic ecology, estuarine hydrodynamics, and contaminant fate. This initiative will facilitate interaction and generate new interdisciplinary research directions within the entire water sciences community at the UW.

Strategic Goal: Focus on Key Global Challenges Where We Can Achieve Greatest Impact and Excellence »

 

Collaborative efforts with the State of Washington, the Clean Energy Institute, and the Washington Research Foundation to advance the adoption of a clean energy future. Research efforts include next-generation solar energy and electrical energy storage materials, devices and systems — as well as their integration with the grid. We are recruiting top students and faculty to campus to leverage CEI resources and significantly increase the scope and impact of UW research and education activities in clean energy. We are also fostering synergies and partnerships that grow our international visibility and prominence in clean energy research, education, and technology translation.

Current Activities

Clean Energy Institute

The Clean Energy Institute (CEI) at UW is accelerating the creation of a clean energy economy and will grow Washington’s capacity for a sustainable economy and environment.

Strategic Goal: Make a Significant and Visible Societal Impact »

Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center

The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) aims to facilitate commercialization of marine energy technology, inform regulatory and policy decisions, and close key gaps in scientific understanding with a focus on student growth and development.

Strategic Goal: Provide an educational experience that prepares our students to be leaders »

National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure

The National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) site at UW is designed to give researchers from academia, small and large companies and other institutions open access to university facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools in the clean energy and biotechnology areas.

Strategic Goal: Create Industry and Community Partnerships to Increase Our Impact »

 

The University of Washington is uniquely equipped to be the world leader in this effort with high nationally ranked bioengineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, and schools of business, medicine and dentistry.

New institutes will bridge the boundaries between engineers and healthcare practitioners by integrating research, student projects, clinical practice, and commercialization to train leaders in healthcare innovation. New technological solutions will help improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare while reducing costs.

Existing faculty and new cluster hires will be recruited to facilitate translational research and foster a culture of innovation in healthcare technology. Through problem-centered design courses, interdisciplinary student teams will work on problems presented to them by experienced healthcare clinicians.

Gap funding will support translational research and facilitate commercialization through existing programs and organizations, such as:

Current Activities

Institute for Translational Engineering and Medicine

The Institute for Translational Engineering and Medicine (iTEAM) is a strategic research initiative to train the next generation of engineers and clinical fellows to be innovators and entrepreneurs in technologies that provide improved care, quality and efficiency of healthcare while reducing cost.

Strategic Goal: Provide an educational experience that prepares our students to be leaders »

National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure

The National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) site at UW is designed to give researchers from academia, small and large companies and other institutions open access to university facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools in the clean energy and biotechnology areas.

Strategic Goal: Create Industry and Community Partnerships to Increase Our Impact »

 

Washington is at the forefront of advanced manufacturing; it has the most robust aerospace cluster in the world, employing more than 131,000 people working in more than 1,250 companies located across nearly every county of the state. Next-generation advanced manufacturing will be knowledge-intensive, and will require innovations that leverage emerging information and sensing technologies. To develop such advanced manufacturing, we aim to leverage the state's regional strength as the center of software and information technology since the industry’s inception, being the home of, for example, Microsoft and Amazon.

Current Activities

Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute

As a founding member of NextFlex, a consortium of 30 academic institutions and industrial partners to develop the next generation of flexible electronic devices, the UW will seek local and regional partners in the electronics and manufacturing industries to develop and produce flexible electronics for applications from medicine to transportation.

Strategic Goal: Create Industry and Community Partnerships to Increase Our Impact »

Collaborative Center for Advanced Manufacturing

The Collaborative Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) is helping foster discussion and support innovation between UW researchers, industry, and other external parties. CCAM will encompass the recently established Boeing Advanced Research Center (BARC — see below), Center for Advanced Materials in Transport Aircraft Structures (AMTAS), and other research centers that focus on advanced manufacturing technologies span multiple departments within UW.

Boeing Advanced Research Center

The Boeing Advanced Research Center (BARC) represents a new paradigm in the execution of industrial research at UW in that Boeing-employed Affiliate Instructors will work in the lab, on a full time basis, hand in hand with faculty and students on joint research projects in the area of manufacturing and assembly of aircraft and spacecraft structures.

Strategic Goal: Create Industry and Community Partnerships to Increase Our Impact »

Rapid Deployment of Designer Materials in Devices and Smart & Resilient Infrastructure

The Rapid Deployment of Designer Materials in Devices and Smart & Resilient Infrastructure is a strategic research initiative to create and deploy designer materials with unprecedented properties and functionalities that are enabled by additive manufacturing (AM).

Nanotechnology Engineering & Science

Nanotechnology Engineering & Science (NanoES) program will provide educational and research infrastructure for new technologies and instrumentation that measure and manipulate at the nanoscale.

National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure

The National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) site at UW is designed to give researchers from academia, small and large companies and other institutions open access to university facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools in the clean energy and biotechnology areas.

Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII)

DMDII's mission is to transform American manufacturing by fully integrating the digital thread across the manufacturing enterprise to reduce overall manufacturing costs, stabilize and grow the manufacturing industrial base, and improve U.S. competitiveness throughout the world. DMDII is a unique public-private partnership to create the tools and technologies to solve today’s most pressing manufacturing challenges.

Strategic Goal: Create Industry and Community Partnerships to Increase Our Impact »