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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research 3 Key Factors Influencing U.S. Leadership in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research In the previous chapter, the panel evaluates leadership in mechanical engineering as measured by numbers and quality of journal articles and a virtual congress conducted by the panel members. This leadership is influenced by a multitude of factors that are largely the result of national policy, economics, and available resources of each country in the world. Here, the panel focuses on three key factors that influence the international leadership status of U.S. mechanical engineering basic research: Centers, facilities, and instrumentation: the physical infrastructure for conducting mechanical engineering basic research Human resources: the national capacity for producing and employing mechanical engineering students and degree holders. Research and development funding: financial support for conducting mechanical engineering research CENTERS, FACILITIES, AND INSTRUMENTATION Modern science and engineering research involves interdisciplinary collaboration, requiring specialized hardware and software often used by multiple disciplines. At the same time, mechanical engineers have specific needs to be met. The health and competitiveness of mechanical engineering research depends on the availability of cutting-edge facilities at U.S. universities and national laboratories. Examples of such facilities are described below. When available, important international facilities are also included. This section does not provide an analysis of the availability of or funding for centers, facilities, and instrumentation— it is meant to highlight the types of such infrastructure resources that are important for carrying out mechanical engineering research. The types of centers, facilities, and instrumentation of interest to mechanical engineering research fall into the following broad categories: Materials characterization and micro- or nanofabrication
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research Manufacturing, automation, and rapidprototyping Biomechanical engineering Cyberinfrastructure Energy and flow systems Materials Characterization and Micro- or Nanofabrication In the mechanics of engineering materials subarea, central facilities are extremely important, especially for the experimental side of the research. As the frontiers of research have moved to an increasingly small scale, access to electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy and other specialized equipment is essential. These types of equipment are typically not found in individual research labs, they are housed in central facilities on campuses or in other research centers. At the elite research universities in the United States, access to such equipment is quite good, though in some cases usage fees can be excessive. Internationally, the same situation holds, where one potential difference is that in many foreign nations equipment is staffed by trained technicians who can facilitate the consistent quality as well as the speed of work. In addition to this equipment, access to large-scale, unique equipment such as synchrotrons is increasingly important. In the United States these facilities are run by the U.S. government and access for academic work is well supported. Characterization of materials often requires high-energy light sources—such as synchrotron and neutron sources—or other specialized facilities that need a significant level of funding to operate and maintain. These are typically available only at national facilities both here and abroad. Examples of important synchrotron sources include the following: 1 Advanced Light Source (ALS), Advanced Photon Source (APS), National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL), Los Alamos Neutron Scattering Center, IPNS (Intense Pulsed Neutron Source) at Argonne and High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States; Berliner Elektronenspeicherring-Gesellschaft für Synchrotronstrahlung (BESSY) in Germany; European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France; INDUS 1/INDUS 2 in India; and National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) in Taiwan. Examples of important neutron sources include2 Spallation Neutron Source, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center in the United States; ISIS-Rutherford-Appleton Laboratories in the United Kingdom; and Hi-Flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor in Korea. Most research-intensive universities are well equipped with conventional micro- and nanofabrication techniques such as thin-film deposition (e.g. chemical vapor deposition, physical vapor deposition), lithography, chemical etching, and electrodeposition, as well as characterization techniques such as electron microscopy, electron and X-ray diffraction, and probe microscopy that are used routinely to characterize small structures, small volumes, and thin films. However, the ability to characterize extremely small nanostructures or to tailor materials at an atomic level requires much more specialized equipment. The Department of 1 For a full list of worldwide synchrotron light sources, see http://www.lightsources.org/cms/?pid=1000098. 2 For a full list of worldwide neutron sources, see the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research at http://www.ncnr.nist.gov/nsources.html.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research Energy is now in the process of opening five Nanoscale Science Research Centers3 that will provide just such capabilities. Four of these centers are listed here, and one is mentioned later in the discussion of biological capabilities. The Center for Nanoscale Materials is focused on fabricating and exploring novel nanoscale materials and, ultimately, employing unique synthesis and characterization methods to control and tailor nanoscale phenomena. The Center for Functional Nanomaterials provides state-of-the-art capabilities for the fabrication and study of nanoscale materials, with an emphasis on atomic-level tailoring to achieve desired properties and functions. The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies features low vibration for sensitive characterization, chemical and biological synthesis labs, and clean rooms for device integration. The Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences is a collaborative nanoscience user research facility for the synthesis, characterization, theory-modeling-simulation, and design of nanoscale materials. Other agencies and even some universities support key nanofabrication facilities. The National Science Foundation funds several nanofabrication facilities (e.g., at Cornell University) that are available to external users and are part of a larger National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). 4 The Cornell Nanofabrication Facility5 provides fabrication, synthesis, characterization, and integration capabilities to build structures, devices, and systems from atomic to complex large scales. Carnegie Mellon University independently operates its own user facility that serves the broader community. The Nanofabrication Facility at Carnegie Mellon6 provides facilities for data storage, thin film, and device development and includes extensive cleanroom space. Manufacturing, Automation, Rapidprototyping Mechanical engineers are involved in all aspects of manufacturing from product design to process controls. A key infrastructure resource for manufacturing is the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). MEL conducts research and development, provides services, and participates in standards activities related to mechanical and dimensional metrology. One particular area of success has been in lean manufacturing; many industrial success stories are available on the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership website.7 Similar facilities exist at universities, such as the NSF Center for Reconfigurable Machining Systems (RMS) at the University of Michigan, Ann 3 http://www.science.doe.gov/Sub/Newsroom/News_Releases/DOE-SC/2006/nano/index.htm. 4 http://www.nnin.org. 5 http://www.cnf.cornell.edu. 6 http://www.nanofab.ece.cmu.edu. 7 https://www.mepcenters.nist.gov/cims2-web/pub/ss.mep?sfc=1&state=list (accessed September 26, 2007).
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research Arbor. “[RMS) is one designed at the outset for rapid change to quickly adjust its production capacity and functionality in response to sudden market changes and customer demand.”8 Mechanical engineers are concerned with the calibration and quality control of measurement of instruments and manufacturing devices. Microcomputed tomography (microCT) is used for high resolution imaging. Another example is the use of micropatterning (Columbia University has three N.Y. state-funded centers for conducting this kind of research). NIST offers extensive measurement and standardization facilities. In the area of automation and dynamic systems and controls, many university centers provide important shared facilities, such as the Iowa Driving Simulator at Iowa State University or automated highway research facilities at the University of California at Berkeley. Physical prototyping infrastructure facilities allow researchers to rapidly produce prototypes of products as a means to better validate theoretical and applied developments. Although a small handful of rapid prototyping centers exist across the nation (e.g., Milwaukee School of Engineering, Georgia Tech, University of Louisville) and isolated prototyping machines at a large number of universities, there is very limited accessible infrastructure dedicated to providing researchers the ability to test and validate their advancements in design. Emerging quickly, largely because of digital advances and global market pressures, is the need for virtual prototyping, allowing researchers to create functional digital models of products and systems while also providing tactile feedback using haptic and virtual reality technologies. Although there are a small handful of design centers with virtual prototyping capabilities (e.g., Iowa State University, University of Iowa, University at Buffalo-State University of New York), and isolated researchers with haptic devices and visualization facilities, there is limited infrastructure dedicated to providing researchers the ability to virtually test and validate their advances in design research. In addition, more action is being taken to coordinate R&D in manufacturing across federal agencies, including joint solicitations through the efforts of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Manufacturing Research and Development.9 One report that will be forthcoming from the IWG is related to manufacturing R&D in three specific areas: (1) nanomanufacturing; (2) manufacturing for the hydrogen economy; and (3) integrated and intelligent manufacturing systems. Biomechanical Engineering The need for biomechanical engineering facilities fall into three areas: (1) characterizing signal transduction (cells sensing external signals) such as effects of shear force, which requires multiscale computational power; (2) imaging at smallest length scales (i.e., nanometer) level; and (3) mimicking biological tissues—biomimetics (e.g., tissue engineering). Two examples of new centers providing state-of-the-art facilities and approaches for bioengineering research are given below—starting with one of the DOE’s nanoscale science research centers. 8 http://www.erc-assoc.org/factsheets/l/html/erc_l.htm (accessed September 24, 2007). 9 http://www.ostp.gov/mfgiwg/ (accessed September 26, 2007).
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research The Molecular Foundry provides instruments and techniques for users pursuing integration of biological components into functional nanoscale materials. 10 The Institute for Systems Biology takes a multidisciplinary approach to addressing systems biology that includes integration of research in many sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, computation, mathematics, and medicine. 11 Cyberinfrastructure According to the National Science Foundation, cyberinfrastructure refers to the distributed computer, information, and communication technologies combined with the personnel and integrating components that provide a long-term platform to empower the modern scientific research endeavor.12 Advances in computational mechanics depend heavily on (1) advances in high-performance computing (HPC) devices; (2) new software that is compatible with the changing computer platforms; and (3) new algorithms and methods to model advanced problems in mechanical engineering, such as multiscale and multiphysics events in nanomanufacturing. Two examples of engineering cyberinfrastructure capabilities are the following: The Collaborative Large-scale Engineering Analysis Network for Environmental Research (CLEANER) addresses large-scale human-stressed aquatic systems through collaborative modeling and knowledge networks. 13 The Network for Computational Nanotechnology connects theory, experiment, and computation in a way that makes a difference to the future of nanotechnology. 14 Energy and Flow Systems Generally, research in thermal systems and heat transfer relies on small-scale lab experiments. The exception is large flow systems such as wind tunnels and facilities for testing turbine blade cooling systems, nuclear fuel assembly thermal test systems, and other specialized facilities. Large scale wind tunnels for sub-, super-, and hypersonic flow were originally maintained by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under its aeronautics program. This program has been cut back significantly, and many of these facilities have been put in storage or permanently dismantled. Wind tunnels are also used for acoustics and dynamics research. NASA has one at Langley-used for high-noise chambers. Slow-neutron sources (such as the Savannah River Site reactor) are used for real-time imaging of casting and engines. Turbines are also critical to energy and research in aeropropulsion and turbomachinery, and laboratories or facilities exist mainly at universities—for example the gas turbine laboratory (GTL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, or Georgia Institute 10 http://foundry.lbl.gov/ 11 http://www.systemsbiology.org/ 12 See extensive list of links on cyber-infrastructure at http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/ci-team/#ecl. 13 http://cleaner.ncsa.uiuc.edu/home/. 14 http://www.ncn.purdue.edu/.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research of Technology. There is also a well-known GTL at the National Research Council Canada (NRC) Institute for Aerospace Research, located in Ottawa. HUMAN RESOURCES Human resources are an essential component of leadership in mechanical engineering. Below, the panel discusses overall characteristics of worldwide science and engineering human resources, and then focuses on some important features of the U.S. supply of mechanical engineers. Strong Competition for International S&E Human Resources In terms of sheer numbers of engineering undergraduate degrees granted, the United States is outpaced by China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea (Table 3-1). In the physical and biological sciences, the United States is behind India, China, and Russia. Moreover, the United States ranks lower than most industrialized nations in the percentage of 24-year-olds who hold their first university degrees (e.g., bachelor’s degree in the United States) in natural sciences and engineering (NS&E: see Figure 3-1). U.S. competitors in Europe and Asia are producing a higher percentage of NS&E degree holders. TABLE 3-1 Countries with the Greatest Numbers of First University Degrees in Engineering Compared with Degrees in Physical and Biological Sciences Engineering Physical and Biological Sciences China (2003) 351,537 103,409 Japan (2004) 98,43 19,727 Russia (1999) 82,409 101,320 South Korea (2002) 64,942 12,864 United States (2002) 60,639 79,768 Mexico 44,682 7,695 Taiwan 41,947 4,294 India (1990) 29,000 147,036 Italy 26,747 9,193 France (2002) 26,414 27,750 SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Science and Engineering Indicators 2006, Appendix Table 2-37.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research FIGURE 3-1 Ratio of first university natural science and engineering degrees per 100 24-year-olds by country. NS&E includes physical, biological, agricultural, and computer sciences; mathematics; and engineering. SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Science and Engineering Indicators 2006 , appendix table 2-37, based on data from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Center for Education Research and Innovation, Education database, www1.oecd.org/scripts/cde/members/edu_uoeauthenticate.asp; United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Institute for Statistics database, http://www.unesco.org/statistics, and national sources. The United States is the single largest producer of natural science and engineering doctoral degrees (see Figure 3-2). However, the number of U.S. doctorates has been declining gradually since the late 1990s. At the same time, the number of China’s doctorates leveled off after rapid growth in the early 1990s.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research FIGURE 3-2 Natural science and engineering doctoral degrees, 1983-2002. SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Science and Engineering Indicators 2006, Figure 2-34. The United States also has increasingly relied on foreign-born scientists and engineers. In 2000, 38 percent of U.S. Ph.D.s granted were to foreignborn scientists and engineers, whereas in 1990 only 22 percent were foreignborn. A large portion of those who come to the United States to earn a Ph.D. in science or engineering, stay here. A 2005 study found that 71 percent of foreign citizens who received S&E doctorates from U.S. universities in 2001 lived in the United States in 2003.15 The study also found that among S&E disciplines, the highest stay rates were for computer and electrical and electronic engineering and the physical sciences. Most foreign doctorate recipients come from four countries. The stay rates for two of these countries, China (90 percent) and India (86 percent), are very high, while those for the other two, Taiwan (47 percent) and Korea (34 percent), are well below the average for all countries. Steady Supply of Mechanical Engineers in the United States A good measure of the near-term supply of new mechanical engineers is to look at the recent trend in the number of graduate students in the United States, which is discussed in more detail below. A measure of the midterm availability of U.S. research mechanical engineers is provided by the number of B.S. mechanical engineering degrees granted in the United States 15 M.G. Finn, 2005, Stay Rates of Foreign Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities, 2003, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research (Figure 3-3); which has drifted down by about 6 percent over the most recent decade for which data are available—from 15,297 in 1994 to 14,368 in 2004.16 FIGURE 3-3 Mechanical engineering degrees awarded, by degree level: 1984–2004. SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics. 2006. Science and Engineering Degrees: 1966–2004. January 2007. Arlington, VA. On a still longer time scale, the supply of scientists and engineers overall depends on the current state of the U.S. K-12 educational system. Here, there have been ongoing concerns about K-12 math and science education in the United States compared with other countries, based largely on the results of internationally administered tests. In 2004, the NSF summarized the situation: "U.S. students are performing at or below the levels attained by students in other countries in the developed world,” and “In international comparisons, U.S. student performances become increasingly weaker at higher grade levels.”17 More recent results reported by NSF showed a more mixed picture—where U.S. fourth and eighth grade students scored above average on the international tests, but U.S. 15-year-olds scored below average.18 Because of the difficulties in locating quantitative data on mechanical engineering human resources at the international level, the panel concentrated on the trends in the number of U.S.mechanical engineering graduate students and Ph.D.s. The data shown in the following figures demonstrate that the numbers of U.S. graduate students and Ph.D.s have remained fairly steady 16 National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, 2006, Science and Engineering Degrees: 1966-2004, Arlington, Virginia. 17 National Science Foundation, 2004, Science and Engineering Indicators 2004, Arlington, Virginia. 18 National Science Foundation, 2007 Science and Engineering Indicators 2006, Arlington, Virginia.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research over the past 10-20 years due to the growing number of foreign-born mechanical engineering graduate students and Ph.D.s. Between 1985 and 2005 (Figure 3-4), there was a fluctuating, but overall steady, supply of graduate students enrolling in mechanical engineering. In the late 1990s, there was a decline in the number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents enrolling in mechanical engineering graduate programs that has begun to rebound more recently. Increasing enrollment of temporary residents has compensated for the declines in U.S. citizens and permanent residents. FIGURE 3-4 Total graduate enrollment in mechanical engineering and enrollment based on residency status: U.S. citizen or permanent resident versus temporary residents, 1985-2005. SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics (NSF/SRS), Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering, Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System (WebCASPAR), http://webcaspar.nsf.gov.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research A better indicator of current trends, however, is to look at first-time full-time graduate enrollments, because overall graduate student enrollments include individuals who began school up to five or six years ago. Again during the period shown, first-time full-time graduate student enrollments in the United States fluctuated but overall remained above 2,800 (Figure 3-5). FIGURE 3-5 First-time full-time mechanical engineering graduate students: Selected years, 1985-2005. SOURCE: NSF/SRS, Survey of Earned Doctorates, Integrated Science and Engineering Resources Data System (WebCASPAR), http://webcaspar.nsf.gov. There has been concern about the potential impacts of immigration policies following the terrorism events on September 11, 2001. A breakdown of first-time full-time enrollments by residency (Figure 3-6) shows that for 2003-2005, temporary resident enrollments fell below those of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research FIGURE 3-17 Federal obligations for total research in mechanical engineering. SOURCE: NSF, S&E Indicators 2006, Appendix Table 4-32 Federal funding for mechanical engineering research is comparable with spending for the other “big four” engineering fields of civil and chemical engineering, with the exception of electrical engineering, which has traditionally been better funded than chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering (Figure 3-18).
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research FIGURE 3-18 Federal obligations for total research, by engineering field: FY 1984-2003. SOURCE: NSF, S&E Indicators 2006, Appendix Table 4-32 DOD has accounted for the largest proportion of federal obligations for mechanical engineering research over the years (Figure 3-19). However, in the past, other agencies accounted for a larger proportion, especially for basic research (Figure 3-20). In 1994 DOD accounted for 70 percent of the federal obligations for mechanical engineering research, whereas in 2004, DOD accounted for 84 percent.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research FIGURE 3-19 Federal obligations for total research in mechanical engineering, 1984-2004. SOURCE: NSF, Federal Funds for R&D, http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/fedfunds/ (accessed July 12, 2007).
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research FIGURE 3-20 Federal obligations for applied versus basic research in mechanical engineering in constant 2000 U.S. Dollars, fiscal years 1986-2004. SOURCE: NSF, Federal Funds for R&D, http://webcaspar.nsf.gov (accessed September 19, 2007). The dominance of DOD funding for mechanical engineering is significant for basic research, because other agency contributions have been diminished (Figure 3-21). NSF in particular contributed significantly less in 2004 than in 1994. The dominance of a single agency has likely created uneven funding opportunities in mechanical engineering.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research FIGURE 3-21 Federal obligations for Basic Research in Mechanical Engineering by Agency for Fiscal Years 1986-2004. SOURCE: NSF, Federal Funds for R&D, http://webcaspar.nsf.gov (accessed September 19, 2007). DOD obligations for basic research in mechanical engineering largely come from the Air Force, Army, and Navy (Table 3-3). Specific information on the breakdown of DOD funding for specific areas of mechanical engineering is not readily available, but the type of mechanical engineering research funded is described on the various DOD organization websites. According to the Army Research Office website,25 “it supports fundamental investigations in the areas of solid mechanics, structures and dynamics, combustion and propulsion, and fluid dynamics.” The Air Force Office of Scientific Research website26 indicates it supports “A wide range of fundamental research addressing structures, structural materials, solid mechanics, fluid dynamics, propulsion, and chemistry.” 25 http://www.arl.army.mil/www/default.cfm?Action=29&Page=187 (accessed September 18, 2007) 26 http://www.afosr.af.mil/ResearchAreas/research_aero.htm (accessed September 18, 2007)
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research TABLE 3-3 U.S. Department of Defense Obligations for Mechanical Engineering Research (U.S. Dollars in thousands) 1994 2004 Total Basic Applied Total Basic Applied Total 252,999 76,705 176,294 253,400 62,901 190,499 Defense agencies 33,876 20 13,876 14.391 2,172 12,219 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency 372 0 372 10,750 0 10,750 Balistic Missile Defense 12,165 12,165 Defense Nuclear 1,339 1,339 Washington Headquarters Services 20,000 20,000 0 3,641 2,172 1,469 Air Force 33,789 11,646 22,143 34,727 7,696 27,031 Army 97,517 13,586 83,931 147,973 26,962 121,011 Navy 87,817 31,473 56,344 56,309 26,071 30,238 SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development, 1994 and 2004. Other federal agencies also vary in the specific information they provide on the breakdown of funding for specific areas of mechanical engineering. Below is a comparison of Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences funding for core research areas in materials (Figure 3-22) for fiscal year 2001 and fiscal year 2005, which includes the core research area of mechanical behavior and radiation effects. According to DOE, “This activity supports basic research to understand the deformation, embrittlement, fracture, and radiation damage of materials with an emphasis on the relationships between mechanical behavior and radiation effects and defects in the material. This research builds on atomic level understanding of the relationship between mechanical behavior and defects in order to develop predictive models of materials behavior for the design of materials having superior mechanical behavior such as at very high temperatures.”
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research FIGURE 3-22 Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Funding for Material Science and Engineering Core Research Activities. SOURCE: http://www.er.doe.gov/bes/brochures/CRA.html. Figure 3-23 shows the breakdown for funding for the NSF Engineering Directorate. NSF support for mechanical engineering research comes largely from Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) Division. CMMI funds research in a various areas of mechanical engineering, including architectural and mechanical systems, dynamics and control systems, manufacturing machines and equipment, mechanics and structure of materials, and nano/bio mechanics. Mechanical engineering basic research in thermal systems and fluid mechanics, as well as a work in micro- and nanofluids and heat transfer is funded by CBET.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research FIGURE 3-23 NSF Engineering Directorate funding for divisions in millions of U.S. dollars: Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI); Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET); Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP); Engineering Education and Centers (EEC); and Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS). NOTE: FY2007 and FY2008 are proposed budgets. SOURCE: NSF fiscal year 2008 budget request, available at http://www.nsf.gov/about/budget (accessed July 12, 2007). Table 3-4 shows the overall research proposal funding rate for CMMI. While, the number of awards has remained fairly stable and the median annual size of awards has increased between 1997 and 2006, the funding rate for awards has decreased by 11 percent, from 28 percent in 1997 to 17 percent in 2006. 27 The funding rate for awards in CBET decreased by 13 percent, from 30 percent in 1997 to 17 percent in 2006. In comparison, the funding rate for the NSF engineering directorate and NSF as a whole declined by only 8 percent during this same time period. Comparable data on proposal funding rates for other funding agencies were not readily available. 27 NSF Budget Internet Information System, http://dellweb.bfa.nsf.gov/
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research TABLE 3-4 Research Proposal Funding Rate for NSF CMMI Division, FY 1997 to 2006 FY No. of Proposals No. of Awards Funding Rate (%) Median Annual Size 2006 2,860 478 17 $83,332 2005 2,644 475 18 $81,700 2004 2,576 515 20 $78,000 2003 2,618 515 20 $79,916 2002 2,418 489 20 $74,076 2001 2,205 403 18 $72,000 2000 1,891 480 25 $66,711 1999 1,514 422 28 $62,017 1998 1,753 383 22 $59,335 1997 1,574 434 28 $60,522 SOURCE: NSF Budget Internet Information System, http://dellweb.bfa.nsf.gov/ (accessed July 12, 2007). SUMMARY U.S. research leadership in mechanical engineering basic research is the result of a combination of key factors, including a national instinct to respond to external challenges and to compete for leadership. Over the years, the United States has been a leader in innovation as a result of cutting-edge facilities and centers, and a steady flow of mechanical engineers and research funding. Major centers and facilities provide key infrastructure and capabilities for conducting research and have provided the foundation for U.S. leadership. Key capabilities for mechanical engineering basic research include the following Measurement and standards Materials characterization and micro- and nanofabrication Manufacturing and automation Biomechanical engineering Supercomputing and cyberinfrastructure Small- and large-scale flow systems There is increasingly strong competition for international science and engineering human resources. The United States has maintained a steady supply of Ph.D. mechanical engineering graduates over the years. This is largely the result of increased reliance upon foreign-born students. Between 1997 and 2005, the number of U.S. citizens who received mechanical engineering Ph.D. degrees declined 35 percent.
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Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the United States in Mechanical Engineering Basic Research Research funding for S&E overall and mechanical engineering in particular has been steady. In 2005, more than $900 million was spent on mechanical engineering R&D at academic institutions. Of this, about two-thirds were federal expenditures. Federal support for U.S. mechanical engineering research between 1999 and 2003 was on average about one percent of the total U.S. R&D budget, with the largest portion (more than 70 percent) coming from DOD.
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