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NSF Invests $10 Million in New Engineering Research Centers

November 20, 1998

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested $10 million to fund the first year of new Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) in Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia. Each of the five centers will receive $2 million in the first year from the NSF, leveraged by support from industry, state governments and partnering universities. NSF will support the centers for five years, after which the support agreement is subject to renewal.

The NSF has established 34 ERCs nationwide since 1985. NSF created the ERC program to foster partner-ships between government, industry and universities in research and engineering. ERC partnerships work to solve crucial research issues that could hinder advances in emerging technologies. As the ERCs develop advanced technologies, they also prepare the next generation of engineers with practical experience in leadership and team-building skills.

The five new centers will be conducting research in the fields of tissue engineering, computer assisted surgery, computer modeling and visualization of industrial materials, power electronics and marine bioproducts. The following narrative provides brief descriptions of each new Center.

Research Center for the Engineering of Living Tissues at Georgia Institute of Technology. This Center will focus on the development of substitutes, both natural and synthetic, for lost or damaged living tissue. Its core partner is Emory University School of Medicine.

The Marine Bioproducts Engineering Center (MarBEC) at the University of Hawaii. MarBEC's mission is to lay the groundwork for future use of marine biotechnology products in the chemical, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and life sciences industries.

Engineering Research Center for Computer- Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology (CISST) at Johns Hopkins University. CISST will develop a new generation of computer-integrated surgical systems and incorporate advanced imaging, robotics, computer and biomedical engineering technologies to create systems and devices to assist doctors in carrying out precise surgical procedures. Core partners include Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brigham & Women's Hospital (Boston) and Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore).

Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films (CAEFF) at Clemson University. CAEFF will explore how fiber and film industries, a crucial component of the U.S. manufacturing base, can speed development of new products through innovative computer modeling. Its core partner is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Center for Power Electronics Systems (C-PES) at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. C-PES plans to integrate components of power electronics devices, circuits, controls, sensors and actuators into modular systems customizable for industrial applications. Core partners include University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the North Carolina A&T State University, and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

For additional information regarding the ERC Program, visit NSF's web page at http://www.nsf.gov/home/eng/start.htm.