The Frontiers of Engineering program brings together through 2-1/2 day meetings a select group of emerging engineering leaders from industry, academe, and government labs to discuss pioneering technical work and leading edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors. The goal of the meetings is to introduce these outstanding early career engineers to each other, and through this interaction facilitate collaboration in engineering, the transfer of new techniques and approaches across fields, and establishment of contacts among the next generation of engineering leaders.


  • Burak Ozdoganlar
    Professor, Mechanical Engineering
    Carnegie Mellon University

    My research involves micro- and nanoscale manufacturing processes and systems, precision engineering, biomedical manufacturing, medical device manufacturing, and biomedical analyses.

    Attending FOE and talking to my peers from diverse areas of research was a great experience. Participation in FOE gave an appreciation about how research in other fields have both similarities to and interesting differences from my field. 

  • Iris Tien
    Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Georgia Institute of Technology

    My research work is in developing probabilistic methods for modeling and reliability assessment of civil infrastructure systems.

    Many of society's outstanding grand challenges, including how we design better critical infrastructure systems, require highly interdisciplinary solutions. At FOE it was exciting to connect with colleagues across engineering to address these challenges.

  • Reuben Rohrschneider
    Senior Engineer
    Ball Aerospace and Technologies

    I research entry systems, vision-based navigation, flash LIDAR, cryogenic insulation, small satellite instruments, and mission architectures.

    In my experience ideas are generated by exposure to different ways of thinking and different solutions to related problems. The interdisciplinary aspect of FOE and the time to interact with other engineers helps to inspire new ideas and solutions to unsolved problems. It also has helped to develop relationships that continue to provide interdisciplinary interaction and new ideas. 

  • Min-Sun Son

    I investigate the potential hazards from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans that patients with medical devices such as a hip implant or pacemaker may experience.

    FOE was a fantastic experience to learn about cutting-edge technologies in other fields of engineering and to meet engineers who are passionate about what they do. I also met a potential collaborator and am exploring conducting research in an area that I had not considered before.

  • Jason Hill
    Associate Professor, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering
    University of Minnesota

    My research focuses on understanding environmental impacts of energy, food, and natural resource systems from a life-cycle perspective.

    Frontiers of Engineering provided me with an in-depth overview of emerging topics in the field that has helped shape my course of research.

  • Laura Hiatt
    Research Scientist
    Naval Research Laboratory

    At the intersection of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and human-robot interaction, my work focuses on enabling robots to be better teammates to human partners by giving them an understanding of the way humans think about and operate in the world.

    I found the FOE symposium particularly valuable because its emphasis on incorporating multiple disciplines and research fields linked well with the interdisciplinary nature of my own work. It helped me think of new avenues for my research and gave me the opportunity to form collaborations with other researchers and engineers that I expect will be extremely rewarding.

  • Features

  • News + Events

    • March 15, 2018
      Two Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants of $30,000 each have been awarded to attendees of the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2017 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.
    • March 15, 2018
      FOE alum Julia Greer at CalTech has used a new 3D printing technique to produce complex nanoscale metal structures that are orders of magnitude smaller than previously possible, which could be used to engineer tiny medical implants, 3D logic circuits on computer chips, and ultra-lightweight aircraft components.
    • March 12, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member John Rogers at Northwestern University has developed a bandage-like throat sensor that measures a patient's swallowing ability and patterns of speech, which can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of aphasia, a communication disorder associated with stroke.
    • March 5, 2018
      FOE alum Alexandre Bayen at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley said Caltrans' electronic message highway signs on I-80 give drivers a chance to take action based on what's ahead.
    • March 1, 2018
      Ying Diao (USFOE 2017) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that shape-shifting organic crystals use memory. Shape-memory materials science and plastic electronics technology could open the door to advancements in low-power electronics, medical electronics devices, and multifunctional shape-memory materials.
    • February 26, 2018
      Cornell's Amit Lal (USFOE 2001) is engineering a new way of triggering electronic circuits to self-destruct, an advance that could help protect sensitive data and one day be used in biomedicine.
    • February 22, 2018
      FOE alum Bill Grieco at Southern Research is engineering a multistep catalytic process for conversion of sugars from non-food biomass to acrylonitrile – a key precursor in the production of high strength and light weight carbon fiber, with applications in defense, space, aviation, automotive, wind turbine production, and sporting goods manufacturing.
    • February 15, 2018
      Check out the list of 13 FOE alumni newly-elected as NAE members.
    • February 12, 2018
      NAE member Jennifer Lewis (USFOE 2000) at Harvard and Brett Compton (JAFOE 2016) at the University of Tennessee have engineered rotational 3D printing to create structural materials optimized for strength and damage tolerance.
    • February 8, 2018
      Nike's Cyrus Wadia (USFOE 2011) is implementing sustainable initiatives that remove barriers to harnessing clean energy technologies in order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and decrease climate change risks.
    • February 5, 2018
      Kaustav Banerjee (GAFOE 2015) at the University of California, Santa Barbara is developing inductors for ultra-compact wireless communication systems for applications in the Internet of Things (IoT), sensing, and energy storage and transfer.
    • February 1, 2018
      MIT's John Hart (USFOE 2010) is developing 3D printing processes that can produce parts in minutes rather than hours, which is too long to wait in modern manufacturing.
    • January 29, 2018
      FOE alumni Xuanhe Zhao (USFOE 2013) and Timothy Lu (CAFOE 2017) formed an interdisciplinary team at MIT that is engineering technologies based on responsive materials, gels, and polymers, including a variety of inks for 3D printing. Applications include flexible patches that will detect environmental stimuli such as pollutants, changes in pH, and temperature.
    • January 25, 2018
      Check out the list of 12 FOE alumni selected as NAI 2017 Fellows.
    • January 22, 2018
      Duke University's Adrienne Stiff-Roberts (EU-US FOE 2016) hopes to open a whole new world of materials to the solar cell industry with these materials that could also be useful for other applications, such as light-emitting diodes, photodetectors, and X-ray detectors.
    • January 11, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Subra Suresh at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is directing the growth of hydrogel to mimic plant or animal tissue structure and shapes, an advance with potential applications in medical and robotics fields.
    • January 8, 2018
      FOE alum Silvia Ferrari at Cornell is developing event-based sensing and control algorithms that use significantly less power than traditional processors and packed into smaller payloads that would enable robot insects to react to the unpredictable scenarios in the real world.
    • January 4, 2018
      Purdue's Shriram Ramanathan has developed a sensor that can detect minute electrical signals travelling through salt water, and is robust enough to survive the harsh conditions of frigid seas, which could help study marine ecosystems and organisms or could detect shipping movement for commercial or military maritime applications.
    • December 21, 2017
      Stanford's Debbie Senesky (USFOE 2016) works at the intersection of aerospace and electrical engineering to develop new semiconductor materials that can survive the heat of Venus, where the surface temperatures are enough to melt lead. Learn more about her research during this appearance on the Future of Everything radio show.
    • December 18, 2017
      FOE alum Julie Champion's process at Georgia Tech could offer a solution to microbial contamination on implantable medical devices and on food processing equipment. In addition to its antibacterial effects, the nano-texturing also appears to improve corrosion resistance.
    • December 14, 2017
      Konrad Kording (USFOE 2017) at the University of Pennsylvania is using cryptographic techniques to decode brain data to predict which direction monkeys will move their arms. The same cryptography-inspired technique could eventually be used to decode more complex patterns of muscle activation for use in prosthetic devices or even speech, to aid those with total paralysis.
    • December 11, 2017
      Stanford's Eric Pop (JAFOE 2014) is developing semiconductors just a few atoms thick for the next generation of feature-filled and energy-efficient electronics.
    • December 7, 2017
      Sheng Lin-Gibson (CAFOE 2011) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology describes the potential shift from the traditional paradigm of health care to one with greater focus on regenerative and curative treatments.
    • December 4, 2017
      MIT's Timothy Lu (CAFOE 2017) founded two companies spun off from his labwork that are looking to manipulate the bacteria in our bodies by adding or removing microbial agents to solve very different problems.
    • November 30, 2017
      NAE member Michael Strano (USFOE 2007) at MIT has developed sensors that when printed on leaves could tell farmers when to water crops.
    • November 17, 2017
      Virgin Orbit's Will Pomerantz (EU-US FOE 2017) founded the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program, which offers paid internships and executive-level mentorship to extraordinary undergraduate women seeking careers in aviation or space exploration. Application deadline is December 5.
    • November 13, 2017
      Pieter Abbeel (USFOE 2012) and his new startup Embodied Intelligence are intent on bringing a new level of robotic automation to the world’s factories, warehouses, and perhaps even homes, using an algorithmic method called reinforcement learning — a way for machines to learn tasks by extreme trial and error.
    • November 9, 2017
      Rice University's Matteo Pasquali (USFOE 2008) is developing fibers that when configured as wireless antennas can be as good as copper antennas but 20 times lighter. The strong, flexible, and conductive fibers could help engineers in streamlining materials for airplanes, spacecraft, and wrist-worn health monitors and clothing.
    • November 6, 2017
      Cornell's Robert Shepherd (USFOE 2016) has created a thin membrane that contorts into complex 3-D shapes — much like the shape-shifting skin of an octopus — that can inflate in seconds to the shapes of everyday objects, such as potted plants or a cluster of stones.
    • November 2, 2017
      Mechanical engineer Marcello Canova (CAFOE 2011) at Ohio State University won the regional qualifying competition and is heading for the 2018 Genoa World Pesto Championship, where he will employ a traditional mortar and pestle to go for the title.
    • October 30, 2017
      CalTech electrical engineer Azita Emami and chemical engineer Mikhail Shapiro, who both participated in USFOE 2017, have developed a technique which allows smart pills, aka capsule endoscopes, to be located in the body using magnetic fields.
    • October 23, 2017
      Duke University's Lingchong You (CAFOE 2017) demonstrated that bacteria can be programed to self-organize into a form that the cells themselves can transform into components of a working sensor. This approach could be attractive because tweaking growth instructions to create different shapes and patterns could be much cheaper and faster than casting the new dies or moulds needed for traditional manufacturing.
    • October 19, 2017
      Christopher Bowman (USFOE 2002) at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Arup Chakraborty at MIT were among the 70 regular members and 10 international members recently elected by National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.
    • October 16, 2017
      FOE alum Andrew Alleyne at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has been named a recipient of the 2017 Advocating for Women in Engineering Award. The award is presented by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and honors individuals who have demonstrated professional excellence in their chosen STEM fields and have proven to be advocates of women in engineering and SWE’s objectives.
    • October 12, 2017
      Emmanuel Candès (EU-US FOE 2010) at Stanford University was among the 24 individuals recently named as MacArthur Fellows. With applications in healthcare, digital photography, radar imaging, and wireless communications, the framework he developed holds promise for phase retrieval, a problem arising in many applications such as crystallography, diffraction imaging (X-ray), and astronomical instrumentation.
    • October 9, 2017
      FOE alum Shu Yang at the University of Pennsylvania is using a $100,000 grant from the Keck Futures Initiative—a project of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that supports forward-thinking, highly interdisciplinary collaborations—to develop a garment that gathers health information from its wearer through his or her sweat. Her team's nanotechnology-inspired yarn can be knitted like its conventional counterparts and could alert the wearer to potential adverse health indications, such as heat stroke.
    • October 5, 2017
      Cornell University's Jenny Sabin (USFOE 2017) collaborates across disciplines on architectural designs that can adapt and respond to environmental conditions. By exploring new ways to construct 3-D structures out of 2-D surfaces that can be manufactured and transported easily, they can achieve economy through saving materials for assembly and construction and efficiency of digital fabrication planning.
    • September 21, 2017
      At Carnegie Mellon University, FOE alumni Kathryn Whitehead and Alan Russell have created a packaged protein that survives digestion-like conditions and is easily transported across the intestinal barrier in a cell culture model, paving the way for oral alternatives to injectable medications.
    • September 18, 2017
      FOE alum Philip LeDuc at Carnegie Mellon University has taken a multidisciplinary approach to combining computational design search methods with biomechanical fundamentals to develop synthetic muscles for applications in regenerative medicine or robotics.
    • September 14, 2017
      FOE alum Dennis Hong at UCLA encourages his students to push the limits when building faster, stronger robots that do the three "D"s - work that is dirty, dull, or dangerous.
    • September 11, 2017
      FOE alum James Gregory at Ohio State University set world records for speed and longest out-and-back for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of any size, pending verification. With sustained average speeds of 147 mph over a 28-mile course, the 70-pound autonomous jet aircraft opens up new capabilities for applications such as rapid package delivery or search-and-rescue, where both high speed and long range are mission critical.
    • September 7, 2017
      Amanda Randles (USFOE 2017), Jenna Wiens (JAFOE 2016), Phillipa Gill (GAFOE 2015), Franziska Roesner (USFOE 2015), and Suchi Saria (USFOE 2017) are among the inspiring and creative innovators selected this year for working on the most important emerging technologies across a broad spectrum of engineering fields.
    • July 17, 2017
      Tune in for the webcast beginning on July 19 of the 2017 Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS), which aims to spark global collaborations that lead to innovative ways of addressing critically important engineering challenges and inspiring the next generation of change makers.
    • June 21, 2017
      Eighty three of the nation’s brightest young engineers have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 23rd annual US Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium.
    • February 2, 2017
      Read papers from the 2016 US FOE online, or purchase the publication in print. Included is leading-edge research in virtual reality headsets, autonomous precision landing of space rockets, new materials for emerging desalination technologies, and engineering immunity against cancer, among other topics.