Penn State partners to launch NSF's Engineering Research Visioning Alliance

New organization will convene engineering voices to identify opportunities and priorities for innovative research to benefit society


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Engineering today (April 7) launched the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA), the first engineering research-visioning organization of its kind. Penn State helped convene the alliance as a founding partner in collaboration with the University’s Big Ten peers to advance high-impact engineering research, according to Lora Weiss, Penn State’s senior vice president for research.

“The ERVA mission is to identify and develop bold and transformative engineering research, and Penn State does this exceptionally well,” Weiss said. “Working with our Big Ten partners and the extended team, we are well positioned to pioneer new developments, anticipate the hardest challenges, create new knowledge and field impressive prototypes. We enthusiastically support ERVA and look forward to collaborating with our partners on these engineering endeavors.”

Funded with a five-year, $8 million award from the NSF, the initiative tasks the engineering community with identifying nascent opportunities and priorities for engineering-led innovative, multidisciplinary, fundamental research.

“Penn State engineers build bridges — literally and figuratively — to make the world a better place,” said Justin Schwartz, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean in the College of Engineering. “We reach across traditionally siloed disciplines and sectors to find the best minds from every background and engineer ideal solutions to unideal situations. We are proud to stand with ERVA and all of its partners to address society’s greatest challenges.”

ERVA’s structure is designed to coalesce the engineering stakeholder community to identify and develop bold new fundamental research directions. Its founding partners are members of the Big Ten Academic Alliance; the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research/Institutional Development Award Foundation; and the University Industry Demonstration Partnership. ERVA builds connectivity among government, academic, industry, community, professional society and public sector stakeholders, empowering the engineering research community to speak with a unified voice, according to Dawn Tilbury, NSF assistant director for engineering.

“Engineering has the power to transform people’s lives, especially when it brings to bear a diversity of knowledge, perspectives and experience to solve important problems,” Tilbury said. “With the NSF’s support, the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance will enable the engineering community to mobilize and make a difference in our country’s future.”


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Megan Lakatos