Dean's Welcome

Welcome to the Michigan State University College of Engineering, where we are engineering a healthier, safer, and more sustainable world.

The college has recently embarked on a number of initiatives designed to ensure our leadership in many new and exciting areas of research and education as we address the National Academy of Engineers "Grand Challenges for the 21st Century."

We have several federally funded research centers in addition to research centers that are sponsored by industry and other funding agencies - BEACON, an NSF Science and Technology Center for the Study of Evolution in Action; the Energy Frontier Research Center; the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center; and the Composite Vehicle Research Center. We have established the Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER) @ MSU, with the goal of becoming an internationally recognized resource for STEM research.

Our Engineering Residential Experience and Cornerstone Engineering programs immerse undergraduate students in a living-learning community, where they are encouraged to participate in "theme" communities brought together around important issues. The themed areas of the residence hall engage students around a different problem or theme, in areas like transportation, sustainability, or energy. For example, the Energy Theme would bring together freshmen interested in energy-related issues confronting society. These students would brainstorm technical solutions and societal transformations necessary for growth and well-being in the future. Consumers Energy and GE Transportation are our first two corporate sponsors in this program. This innovative approach has the potential to connect students with their passion early on and, incidentally, serves as a vehicle to connect students with issues that the National Academy of Engineering has outlined as "The Grand Challenges of the 21st Century."

Below is an overview of some of our top research centers, projects, programs, and accomplishments.

  • MSU was awarded a $25 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish BEACON, an NSF Science and Technology Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. This center brings together scientists from across the nation to study evolution in action in both natural and virtual settings. MSU is among five universities selected by NSF to lead one of these highly coveted Science and Technology Centers.
  • The $12.5 million Energy Frontier Research Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a collaborative effort to advance the fundamental scientific understanding of the thermoelectric energy conversion process, which could lead to more efficient utilization of energy resources. Applications range from waste heat recovery from automobiles to solar thermal energy conversion. This initiative involves six MSU scientists as well as researchers from Northwestern University, the Ohio State University, UCLA, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, one of three national centers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a close collaboration of MSU and the University of Wisconsin. The goal of this center is to increase the contribution of biofuels to the U.S. energy portfolio by conducting fundamental research to remove current bottlenecks in the biofuel pipeline.
  • The Composite Vehicle Research Center is a U.S. Department of Defense - supported center of excellence for the design and testing of composite structures for lightweight, environmentally friendly, durable, and safe vehicles, with both military and civilian applications.
  • The Energy & Automotive Research Laboratories focus on innovative engine design, on power electronics for hybrid vehicles, and on the development of thermoelectric devices for harvesting waste energy from tailpipe emissions.
  • Up to $4.3 million in funding recently received from the U.S. Department of Energy will enable the Michigan Biotechnology Institute (MBI) to further its work on alternative fuel technology developed by an MSU professor of chemical engineering and materials science. MBI helps prepare biobased technologies and innovations for commercial use.
  • A research team, supported by $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), continues development of the wave disk engine. This technology uses turbo combustion to convert liquid fuel or compressed natural gas or hydrogen into electrical power. The goal is to increase fuel efficiency for hybrid vehicles by five times compared to internal combustion engine vehicles on the road today, while reducing costs by 30 percent.
  • Several research teams continue to accelerate our energy research focus. One research group is working on generation-after next wind turbine technology. Utilizing carbon-composite materials and a vertical axis design, the researchers anticipate that their approach will ultimately achieve 40-50 percent efficiency, more than double the efficiency of current wind turbine designs. Another group is developing high-energy batteries and high-power super capacitors for the personal, transportation, and infrastructure sectors for both U.S. Department of Defense and civilian applications. Our newest faculty member is expanding our research portfolio into the area of organic light emitting diodes (OLED).
  • Many of our researchers are working to make our world healthier. A multidisciplinary team of MSU researchers was recently awarded $4.2 million to develop accurate clinical research tools for studying osteopathic manipulative medicine, a hands-on approach to the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. In another area, a researcher is developing tools that could lead to new prostheses and therapies for those with neural injuries and diseases. Another faculty member is working on developing a nanoparticle-based DNA biosensor for rapidly detecting tuberculosis, a disease that takes the lives of almost 2 million people worldwide. Other researchers are developing new treatments for cancer, HIV, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.
  • In our Pattern Recognition and Image Processing (PRIP) Lab, researchers are working to make our world a safer place. They have developed a method for matching forensic sketches to the mug shots stored in law enforcement databases, which will speed the work of law enforcement agencies in apprehending suspects. Other projects in the lab include latent fingerprint matching, face recognition in surveillance video, tattoo matching, and detection of altered fingerprints.
  • During the past two years, nine of our faculty members have been named NSF CAREER Award winners.
  • Our Cornerstone Engineering program exposes students to hands-on design projects beginning with their first week on campus; they quickly develop problem-solving skills while learning to work in teams. Students in the introductory engineering course have an opportunity to work on real-world, service-learning projects through MSU's Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities.
  • More than 90% of our undergraduates voluntarily participate in an "experiential education" program - co-op, internship, work/study abroad, research - prior to graduation. Each year, more than 200 undergrads participate in our Undergraduate Research Experience program, working in our labs alongside leading researchers on cutting-edge solutions to modern technical dilemmas.
  • Our computer science doctoral program was placed in the top 17% in the United States, according to the National Research Council (NRC) ranking.
  • During the past ten years, the College of Engineering has produced nine Goldwater Scholars, two Churchill Scholars, and a Gates Cambridge Scholar.

 

I invite you to browse our web pages to read more about our groundbreaking research, our award-winning faculty, and our superb students and their many accomplishments. For additional facts about the college, please go to http://www.egr.msu.edu/about.

 

We further invite you to call us for more information, or to set up a time to come and visit our beautiful campus.

Leo Kempel
Dean