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Washington Engineer - January 2015 Dean's Message

Michael Bragg standing, with purple and gold tieDear Friends of Engineering,

Partnerships between industry and academia help to move innovative solutions to market and spur new application-driven research. The recently opened Boeing Advanced Research Center on campus offers a unique opportunity for students and faculty to work collaboratively with Boeing engineers on advanced manufacturing technologies.

In this edition of Washington Engineer, you will read about many unique partnerships here on campus with potential to transform not only manufacturing, but also health care, big data and even sports. One collaborative effort between a startup and engineering faculty will develop a new football helmet to combat concussions. Researchers in computer science and engineering and the UW’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences have demonstrated that direct communication between human brains may be closer than we think. They recently received a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to further their work.

As we begin 2015, I’m excited to see how much we’ve already accomplished this academic year. We welcomed 19 new faculty members and have more than 30 faculty searches underway. Our student body is growing, and our bachelor's graduation rates are up over 25 percent since 2009. Two new department chairs joined us in January: Radha Poovendran for the Department of Electrical Engineering and Tony Waas for the William E. Boeing Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Our outstanding faculty continue to be recognized for impactful research and innovation. Four engineering professors recently received awards totaling about $2.7 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to fund artificial intelligence research. The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC), co-led by UW mechanical engineering assistant professor Brian Polagye, received an $8 million contract with the U.S. Navy to develop marine renewable energy for Navy facilities around the world.

I’m also pleased to announce three UW engineers recently named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30 in Energy” list. The list focuses on individuals who have developed innovative solutions with the objective of saving or conserving energy. Congratulations to Baosen Zhang, assistant professor in electrical engineering; Shyam Gollakota, assistant professor in computer science and engineering; and Derek Sutherland, a doctoral student in aeronautics and astronautics.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the exciting, ongoing work at UW Engineering and for reading Washington Engineer.

Michael B. Bragg
Frank & Julie Jungers Dean of Engineering