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The New Engineering Research Centers Purposes (3OC1IS, and Expeclations Cross-Disciplinary Engineenng Research Committee Commission on Engineenng and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1986
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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. The Council operates in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy under the authority of its congressional charter of 1863, which establishes the Academy as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation. The Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Acad- emy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in the conduct of their services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. It is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine were established in 1964 and 1970, respectively, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences. This activity was supported by the National Science Foundation under cooperative agreement No. ENG-850505 1 between the Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations are those of the committee and the speakers and do not-necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOG CARD NUMBER 85-51808 INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BOOK NUMBER 0-309-03598-8 Printed in the United States of America First Printing, November 1985 Second Printing, October 1987
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CROSS-DISCIPLINARY ENGINEERING RESEARCH COMMITTEE SEYMOUR L. BLUM, Vice-President, Charles River Associates, Inc. (Chairman) ROBERT R. POSSUM, Dean, School of Engineenng and Applied Science, Southern Methodist University JAMES F. LARDNER, Vice President, Component Group, Deere & Company Staff KERSTIN B. POLLACK, Executive Secretary COURTLAND S. LEWIS, Consultant VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Assistant DELPHINE D. GLAZE, Administrative Secretary PATRICIA WHOLEY, Fiscal Assistant . . .
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Preface In the fall of 1983 a small group of engineers met with George Keyworth II, the President's Science Adviser and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The stated purpose of the meeting was to present to Dr. Keyworth a briefing on the need for advances in research on the use of computers in design and manufacturing. The briefing had been prepared under the auspices of a National Research Council committee, of which the late George Low was chairman. As the meeting progressed, however, its focus shifted from the overt subject of computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) to a single theme that lay in the background, hidden between the lines of the report. That underlying theme was the need for integration of the engineering endeavor. It was a subject that had cropped up here and there, more and more often over the previous three or four years, in studies and pronouncements about engineering research and education. The topic was usually alluded to as though in passing, with an air that "this is important, but hard to grasp." References to it were especially frequent whenever concerns about our de- clining overall competitiveness in technology-intensive, manufacturing-ori- ented industries were being discussed. The need for integration has many facets, and can be expressed in many ways: the integration of engineering research and development, of design and manufacturing; the closer interplay of universities and industry; the greater exposure of engineering students to practical, hands-on, apprenticeship as- pects of education. One particularly important element identified is the need for a new, crosscutting approach to complex engineering research problems- often expressed by the key words cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and v
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V1 PREFACE multidisciplinary. The traditional disciplines alone are not always suited to the complex nature of modern engineering discovery. Systems is another key term, referring not just to systems engineering, but to the need for attention to the systems aspects of the engineering enterprise and its products, and for optimizing the overall process by considering every element, looking for trade- offs, incorporating diverse kinds of expertise, taking the broadest possible view. These concerns had been latent there, but not addressed. For one thing, they were elusive, hard to define. There was no real knowledge base to support any rigorous discussion or definition of the problems or, for that matter, what was at stake. The ideas seemed likely to challenge the structure and function of the engineering research establishment. Cross-disciplinary research and university-industry partnership were concepts that augured major change with- out any guarantee of commensurate return. But by the fall of 1983 the un- dercurrent of interest in this theme had reached a point of critical mass in the minds of those concerned with the nation's technological competitiveness. So it was that the group in Dr. Keyworth's office began to discuss these ideas with a sense of growing excitement. Dr. Low in particular catalyzed a shared vision of the kind of engineering education that is needed if this kind of integration were to be achieved in the universities and in industry. A second meeting was arranged to discuss what might be done. As a result of that meeting, the National Science Foundation (NSF) became involved with a new agenda to create university-based cross-disciplinary research centers that would be closely attuned to the perceived real engineering needs of the nation. In December 1983 the NSF asked the National Academy of Engineering to conduct a brief study of the engineering research center concept, aimed at formulating guidelines for the centers' mission, organization, operation, and funding. The results of that study were transmitted in February 1984, and by April 1984 the first NSF program announcement for the Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) was issued. The response was enormous: 142 proposals were received from more than 100 universities for research in a wide range of fields. After an exhaustive review, awards for six Engineering Research Centers (involving a total of 8 universities) were announced in early April 1985. The papers presented here were delivered at a symposium held later that month at the National Academy of Sciences to introduce the new Centers to the engineering community at large. NSF's expressed purpose in supporting these Centers is to provide cross- disciplinary research opportunities for faculty and students, to provide fun- damental knowledge that will contribute to the solution of important national problems, and to prepare engineering graduates who possess the diversity and quality of education needed by U.S. industry. As Dr. Keyworth pointed out
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PREFACE V11 in remarks following his speech on the first day of the symposium, "The ERCs are the real gem of all the new programs that are receiving so much emphasis in fundamental research and the training of talent today. This 'in- stitute' concept . . . is something that is long overdue in this country, and I think it is going to become big." We concur wholeheartedly with that assessment. The ERCs are the right step at the right time; they will inject into engineering new values and new approaches that are sorely needed. It behooves all of those involved in the engineering enterprise in the United States to ensure that this gem is highly polished, and that the sparkle and promise of this new beginning are not permitted to fade. Symposium Steering Group SEYMOUR L. BEUM, Chairman ROBERT R. POSSUM JAMES F. LARDNER
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Contents Summary Introduction ......... H. Guyford Stever ~ The National Goal Improving the U.S. Position in International Industnal Competitiveness .............................................. George A. Keyworth I! Engineenng Research and International Competitiveness Roland W. Schmitt Science and Engineenng: A Continuum .......................... Erich Bloch ~ Genesis of the Engineering Research Centers The Concept and Goals of the Engineenng Research Centers ........................................................... Nam P. Sub 1X ...... 11 ....... 19 28 ... 37
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x The Criteria Used in Selecting the First Centers Eric A. Walker Nurturing the Engineering Research Centers Lewis G. Mayfield CONTENTS 44 ............... ~- ..................... 51 Ill The Centers as a Reality Plans, Mechanisms, and Interactions PLANS AND PROGRAMS OF THE EXISTING CENTERS Systems Research Center John S. Baras Center for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems King-Sun Fu, David C. Anderson, Moshe M. Barash, and James ]. Solberg Center for Robotic Systems in Microelectronics Susan Hackwood (:enter for Composites Manufacturing Science and Engineering 93 R. Byron Pipes Engineering Center for Telecommunications Research Mischa Schwartz ......... 75 ........... 86 Biotechnology Process Engineering Center Daniel I. C. Wang Methods for Ensuring Information and Technology Exchange Among the Centers Car! W. Hall ........ 100 ................. 107 ..................................... 121 New Factors in the Relationship Between Engineering Education and Research ....................................... Jerrier A. Haddad ..... 129
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CONTENTS IV The Future- Challenges and Expectations Challenges of a Technologically Competitive World: A Vision of the Year 2000 ................................. James Brian Quinn Goals and Needs of U.S. industry in a Technologically Competitive World ........................... Arden L. Bement, Jr. A Mature but Rejuvenating Industry: Expectations Regarding the Engineering Research Centers ............. W. Dale Compton X1 .......... 139 ...................... 161 ....... 172 A Growth Industry: Expectations Regarding the Engineering Research Centers 176 Larry W. Sumney Biotechnology and the Healthcare industry: Expectations for Engineering Research Stephen W. Drew Challenges for Government Ham P. Suh Implications and Challenges for Industry lames F. Lardner Challenges for Academe H. Guyford Stever Biographies ...................................................... ....... I82 .............. 187 ......................... 190 ...... 194 ... 199
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The New Engineering Research Centers Purposes, Goals, and Expeclations SYMPOSIUM Washington, D.C., April 29-30, 1985
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