With increasing demands for high performance in structural systems, Smart Structures Technologies (SST) including advanced sensing, modern control, smart materials, optimization and novel testing, is receiving considerable attention as it has the potential to transform many fields in engineering, including civil, mechanical, aerospace, and geotechnical engineering. Currently, there is a significant gap between the engineering science with fundamental research in academia and engineering practice with potential implementation in the industry.
To respond to this challenge, XXXX University and the XXXXX University will collaborate with industrial partners to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, focusing on academia-industry collaborations in SST. This REU program will train undergraduate students to serve as the catalysts to facilitate the research infusion between academic and industrial partners. This student-driven joint venture between academia and industry will establish a virtuous circle for knowledge exchange and contribute to advancing both fundamental research and implementation of SST. The program will feature: formal training, workshops, and supplemental activities in the conduct of research in academia and industry; innovative research experience through engagement in projects with scientific and practical merits in both academic and industrial environments; experience in conducting laboratory experiments; and opportunities to present the research outcomes to the broader community at professional settings. This REU program will provide engineering undergraduate students a unique research experience in both academic and industrial settings through cooperative research projects. Experiencing research in both worlds is expected to help students transition from a relatively dependent status to an independent a status as their competence level increases.
The joint efforts among two institutions and industry partners provide the project team with extensive access to valuable resources, such as expertise to offer a wider-range of informative training workshops, advanced equipment, valuable data sets, experienced undergraduate mentors, and professional connections, that will facilitate a meaningful REU experience. Recruitment of REU participants will target 20 collaborating minority and primarily undergraduate institutions (15 of them are Hispanic-Serving Institutions) with limited STEM research capabilities. The model developed through this REU program may help to exemplify the establishment of a sustainable collaboration model between academia and industry that helps address the nation's need for mature, independent, informed, and globally competitive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals and is adapted to other disciplines.
In this poster, the details of the program will be described. The challenges and lesson-learned on the collaboration between two universities, communications with industrial partners, recruitment of the students and development of the program will be discussed.
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