Frontiers of Discovery

Competing for and hiring the best faculty in the U.S. is critical to the future of our academy. It is crucial that we increase the number of professorships and chairs to achieve our goal of hiring and retaining the best faculty. Further, we aim to breach the boundaries of knowledge by investing in innovative research, and research of importance to our industrial partners. The Frontiers of Discover fundraising thrust includes both direct funding of a research topic and also industrial partnership in advising PhD students.

Professorships and Chairs in Interdisciplinary Areas

We would like to establish professorships and chairs in emerging interdisciplinary areas to attract senior scientists to Penn State, benefit our students, enrich our research enterprise, connect us with industry, contribute to the prosperity of the Commonwealth, and raise our profile. Topics such as cybersecurity policy, energy and the environment, biomedical ethics, and autonomous mobility, amongst others, transcend the boundaries of departments.

Interdisciplinary Innovation Research Grants Programs

We seek to encourage our professors to breach disciplinary boundaries, by providing them with support for new, high-risk research topics that would then position them for external funding, such as offering seed funding for innovative approaches in engineering research that have the potential to impact economic development and improve the quality of life.

Engineering-Institutes Professorships and Chairs

This program has the objective of establishing professorships and chairs jointly with Penn State institutes. We seek 50 percent funding from our alumni and friends to establish these prestigious positions with the Huck Institute for the Life Sciences, the Materials Research Institute, The Rock Ethics Institute, the Institute for Cyberscience, and new institutes that may be formed at Penn State in the future. Joint professorships and chairs will enhance intellectual exchanges and integration of the best talents at Penn State and will enrich both our educational and research programs.

Joint Industry-Research Horizons Grants

Identifying challenges in industry, and solving them jointly with our faculty, will have a positive impact on both the corporate sector and Penn State. We would like to offer our professors partial funding for a research topic provided they obtain complementary funding from industry. This incentive will encourage our faculty to reach out, and will also encourage industry partnerships, since Penn State’s support will be demonstrated in a practical manner. The strengthening and expansion of joint industry-Penn State research and development work will underpin economic development and refresh the relevance of our work to the needs of society.