From Dean Williams: From manufacturing to medicine, engineering innovates

Posted: February 23, 2017


We all know that engineering is integral to industries from A to Z. But one letter from the alphabet that has been on our collective minds here is M. Now, before you say we should not be thinking of that symbol of a certain school up north, let me qualify. We’ve been thinking about 4 Ms, as the first letter in four focus areas: Manufacturing, Mobility, Materials and Medicine.

In this issue, we aggregate some important facts and figures related to the College of Engineering’s Manufacturing prowess in an infographic. Suffice to say, manufacturing companies look to Ohio State for advances in technology and processes, as well the talent prepared to maximize both. A robust and competitive manufacturing sector is essential to our nation’s continued economic recovery.

In the spirit of our land-grant origins, we are proud to play an important role in the economic growth of Ohio and the U.S. That is one reason we enthusiastically endorsed the bipartisan Manufacturing Universities legislation included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. The legislation authorizes the Department of Defense to support training at U.S. universities to help equip students with the skills needed to compete in the 21st century manufacturing workforce. This aligns with our belief that tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce should be exposed early and often to tomorrow’s manufacturing technology.

In Mobility, Ohio State Engineering’s leadership is gaining speed. In the past nine months, we have:

  • helped the City of Columbus win the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.
  • co-founded the Smart Belt Coalition with academic institutions and transportation agencies in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
  • been named a Beyond Traffic Innovation Center, one of 18 institutions across the country to lead research on transportation challenges.
  • worked closely with the Ohio Department of Transportation and local government to launch the Smart Mobility Corridor, a 35‑mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 in central Ohio.
  • joined the State of Ohio and the university in investing in enhanced autonomous vehicle technology and facilities at our Transportation Research Center in East Liberty.

Our strengths in Materials—including the Institute for Materials Research and the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS)—led to the establishment of an Ohio State Discovery Theme focus area. Led by Professor Steve Ringel, Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability was one of seven proposals selected for funding through Ohio State’s Discovery Themes Initiative. Since then, eight new Discovery Themes faculty have been hired and 16 more new hires are planned in the near future.

Research from our Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) that could lead to jet engines that run hotter and cleaner has received extensive media coverage recently. And four MSE faculty members are leading or contributing to more than $12 million in Department of Energy-funded research focused on advancing vehicle sustainability.

Awareness of engineering’s role in Medicine globally grows every day. With a leading medical center and colleges of engineering, medicine, pharmacy, nursing and veterinary medicine all in close proximity, Ohio State is fertile ground for engineering-healthcare innovation. That’s why dozens of our faculty from a variety of disciplines are actively involved in healthcare-related research.

Last year, William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Chair Andre Palmer secured $5.5 million in NIH funding to continue development of a viable blood substitute. And recently, Biomedical Engineering Professor Yi Zhao launched a company to commercialize a smartphone-based digital pathology scanner.

I leave you with two more Ms to ponder… there’s Much More to come.

David B. Williams
Monte Ahuja Endowed Dean's Chair
Dean of the College of Engineering
Executive Dean of the Professional Colleges

Category: College