College of Engineering seed grants support multidisciplinary research efforts

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The College of Engineering recently announced six projects will receive funding through its Multidisciplinary Research Seed Grants program.

Established in 2014, the program aims to help faculty attract high-impact multidisciplinary and center-level research funding from the state and federal government, industry or foundations.

Anthony Atchley, senior associate dean in the College of Engineering, noted that 34 proposals were submitted for this year's program.

"The proposals submitted were impressive and serve as a true testament to the strong caliber of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research being done across the college," he said.

The following projects were selected for support beginning July 1, 2016:

  • Michael Janik, John J. and Jean M. Brennan Clean Energy Chair and associate professor of chemical engineering, and Robert Rioux, associate professor of chemical engineering, "Selective Hydrogenation/Dehydrogenation Catalysis." They are partnering with ExxonMobil for the project.
  • Soundar Kumara, Allen E. Pearce/Allen M. Pearce Professor in the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, and Gordon Pang, assistant professor of industrial engineering, "Discovering Patterns in Self-Reported Care." They are working in collaboration with Geisinger Health System.
  • Kamesh Madduri, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, and Venky Shankar, professor of civil engineering, "High Performance Computing for Network Traffic Safety: HPC-NeTS."
  • Harriet Nembhard, professor of industrial engineering, "Demand Management for a Mobile Intervention to Support Chronic Heart Failure in the Community." She is partnering with the Mount Nittany Medical Center on her project.
  • Ibrahim Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics; Xiaojun Lian, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; and Sulin Zhang, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics and bioengineering, "Engineering Reptile Tissues for Self-Locomotion."
  • Chaopeng Shen, assistant professor of civil engineering, and Daniel Kifer, associate professor of computer science and engineering, "Predicting continental-scale hydraulic geometry changes using big data, land surface hydrologic modeling and deep neural networks."

"Nine of the 34 proposals submitted requested funding for faculty to work with an organization outside the University. These external partnerships are crucial for advancing original, creative and transformative concepts that will address some of society's most pressing challenges," said Atchley.

Multidisciplinary Research Seed Grants can be used to support graduate students or postdocs, small equipment, software, user facility fees, travel, materials and supplies.

"Penn State Engineering faculty are sharing their technical expertise, now more than ever, with their colleagues at the University and with professionals in business, industry and the government. We look forward to seeing the results of both the internal and external collaborations," said Atchley.

—Stefanie Tomlinson