Strategic Research Initiatives

The Strategic Research Initiatives (SRI) program was developed to advance two of our strategic plan goals:

  • Build interdisciplinary collaborations that inspire innovation.
  • Focus on key global challenges where we can achieve greatest impact and excellence.

The intent of the SRI program is to place Washington in a clear leadership position in promising new and growing areas of engineering research, through strategic investment in the form of seed funding. Each team will receive around $50,000 in the first year with another potential $50,000 in the second year to advance their idea. The projects are also supported through matching funds from departments and other colleges.

The SRI program builds interdisciplinary collaborations and focuses on innovation leadership in our Strategic Research Areas:

Infrastructure and Smart Cities | Environment | Energy | Health | Manufacturing

2016 Awardees

We propose to bring together the emerging WRF Roll-to-Roll facility, the CEI Scaleup Testbed, and NanoES along with existing labs and a broad interdisciplinary team of UW COE faculty to form the Center for Integrated Printed Systems (CIPriS). CIPriS will enable new materials and printed electronic devices to be additively manufactured in scalable, low carbon footprint processes. These processes will be integrated to create autonomously powered intelligent printed electronic, photonic, structural and bioelectronic sensing systems for applications such as direct health care, disease diagnosis, structural monitoring, and internet of things wireless nodes. This mission in accord with the COE identified strategic research areas of health, energy, environment, and manufacturing. CIPriS will draw on substantial existing faculty expertise and activities as well as new emerging infrastructure at UW to organize a series of progressive workshops. The thrust leaders, a community of Co-PIs across the college and external participants will participate to develop system concepts, devices and processes for autonomous printed, flexible, and intelligent sensing systems which can be manufactured with scalable printing-based advanced manufacturing approaches. CIPriS will then integrate the application system concepts and proof-of-concept data into center-level funding competitions and industrial partners, utilizing the results achieved by this work to tap into the PNW’s formidable industrial technology base that can benefit from integrated printed electronics solutions.

Faculty team:

Human interaction with the physical world is increasingly mediated by machines that monitor, learn from, adapt to, and enhance the ability of their human partners. This technological trend will undoubtedly influence a variety of engineering disciplines (e.g. transportation, communication, energy), but we foresee outsized impact in engineering health. We envision a future where: neurophysiological trauma and disease are diagnosed automatically (and, when possible, preemptively); monitoring and intervention are conducted continuously within and outside the clinic; and personalized assistive devices ranging from exoskeletons to co-robots mitigate disability and enhance ability of all individuals, as needed.

Faculty team:

The Precision Medicine Initiative, a research effort launched with a $215 million investment in the president’s 2016 budget, will pioneer a new model of patient-powered research that promises to accelerate biomedical discoveries, providing clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for each patient. We propose to build on this initiative in establishing a one-of-a-kind molecular imaging center at UW, the Washington Molecular Imaging and Therapy (WAMIT) Center, to make major advances in precision medicine leading the next major wave in medical diagnosis and treatment and significantly strengthening the infrastructure for translating scientific discoveries into clinical applications. Overall, the SRI program provides a timely opportunity to integrate translational imaging research supporting precision medicine with the evolving strength of molecular engineering programs at UW.

Faculty team:

The Cascadia Subduction Zone and the Seattle Fault could generate earthquakes (and consequent tsunamis and landslides) as damaging as those experienced anywhere in the world. Nonetheless, Pacific Northwest communities have been reluctant to make large investments to improve their seismic resilience, in part because earthquakes are less frequent here than in some other regions.

To help Washington State overcome the challenge of developing Resilience Against Infrequent but Severe Earthquakes (RAISE), the RAISE initiative has brought together a team of leading experts in earthquake hazards, earthquake engineering, risk perception, planning and policy. The team will work with a coalition of UW partners (e.g., the M9 Project, Urban@UW, CRISP, IHMPR, and EarthLab), and key public and private community leaders to develop, test, and deploy new strategies and technologies that will improve the seismic resilience of the PNW affordably, while serving as a global model for resilience implementation.

Faculty team:

2015 Awardees

With the recent focus in U.S. policy on value and accountability in healthcare, there has never been a more opportune time for researchers, engineers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs to contribute to the development of medical and dental technology for the purpose of lowering costs and improving the quality of care. The University of Washington is uniquely positioned to be the world leader in this effort with highly nationally ranked departments in the College of Engineering and Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry and Pharmacology. The mission of iTEAM is 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. The iTEAM is built on three pillars: education, research, and translation and commercialization.

Faculty team:

The objective of CCAM is to bring together all automated manufacturing related activities within the UW under one umbrella. Automation is already an integral part of many manufacturing processes, and will continue to advance in terms of technology, sensors, and data generation. These advancements will provide many opportunities and challenges for researchers, designers, and engineers, and the CCAM will help foster collaboration, discussion and innovation in automated manufacturing between UW researchers, industry and other external parties.

The CCAM will encompass the recently established BARC (Boeing Advanced Research Center), AMTAS (Center for Advanced Materials in Transport Aircraft Structures), and other research centers that focus on advanced manufacturing that span multiple departments within UW.

Faculty team:

This proposal seeks late-stage funding to assemble a research team to create and deploy designer materials with unprecedented properties and functionalities that are enabled by additive manufacturing (AM). This includes AM of materials with complex microstructure composed of dynamically, chemically, and biologically active building blocks, and their rapid deployment into advanced devices and structural applications. The topic is inherently interdisciplinary as evidenced by a team of investigators that already includes engineers from three different departments and a chemist.

We also plan to add team members from other fields including materials science and engineering, aeronautics and astronautics, medicine, and dentistry as the work proceeds. Additive manufacturing (AM) contributes to college initiatives in manufacturing and smart city/infrastructure.

Faculty team:

The Mountain to Sea Initiative will catalyze innovative research relevant to coastal watersheds in the Pacific Northwest and worldwide. Mountain to Sea (M2S) will generate new integrative research directions within the UW water sciences community and address key challenges facing coastal freshwater systems in partnership with scientific and governmental organizations who contribute to and use water science. M2S is a joint venture of faculty (and funding) from the College of Engineering, the College of the Environment and the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (UWT), designed to provide UW leadership in this complex and vital field of research.

Faculty team: