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.


  • Parisa Rashidi
    Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
    University of Florida

    I develop intelligent health systems using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, particularly in intensive care settings.

    FOE has provided me with a great networking opportunity within an interdisciplinary community. 

  • Davion Hill
    Principal Engineer

    I develop faster testing programs with predictive analytics that support commercial project finance in energy storage.

    Connecting to other technical minds in an interdisciplinary setting has opened up new possibilities for research and business opportunities.

  • Grace Metcalfe
    Program Officer
    Air Force Office of Scientific Research

    My research interests include discovering and advancing the advantages of quantum sciences over classical approaches to measure, encode, and process information, as well as exploring the scientific underpinnings of control and interactions between atoms, molecules, and photons.

    The FOE provided me with an extraordinary opportunity to engage with a diverse group of talented, energetic, and curious minds that expanded my knowledge in fascinating scientific fields I seldom encountered and enriched the way I approach scientific challenges.

  • Alberto Valdes-Garcia
    Manager, RF Circuits & Systems
    IBM TJ Watson Research Center

    I research millimeter-wave circuits systems for communications and sensing applications, such as emerging technologies in 5G and portable multi-spectral imaging.

    Attending the FOE symposium was a very rewarding experience for me. The symposium broadened my understanding of key research challenges across multiple engineering disciplines and allowed me to connect with other enthusiastic engineers who share my passion for research and discovery. Attending the symposium solidified and nurtured my appreciation for multi-disciplinary research, and as a result, I have purposely pursued collaborative work with engineers from adjacent disciplines and expanded the boundaries of my work.

  • Hadley Sikes
    Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    We research molecular technologies to aid in the diagnosis and evidence-based treatment of human disease.

    At FOE, it was energizing and inspiring to hear about how engineers across all disciplines are united in applying our training to address pressing societal needs. The passion and energy that my cohort brought to the symposium amplified my own.  

  • Z. John Zhai
    Professor of Civil, Environmental, & Architectural Engineering
    University of Colorado Boulder

    My primary research and teaching interests are in green buildings, sustainable urban development, and indoor/outdoor air quality, particularly atmosphere pollutant sources.  

    FOE provides great dynamic and cutting-edge insights and cross-disciplinary thinking and research that are tremendously stimulating and put the US at the frontline of global innovation. 

  • Features

  • News + Events

    • January 17, 2019
      FOE alum and NAE member Zhenan Bao at Stanford is engineering a biodegradable, battery-free arterial-pulse sensor to wirelessly monitor blood flow, an advance that could allow doctors to remotely monitor the success of blood vessel surgery.
    • January 14, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Zhigang Suo at Harvard has engineered a new type of adhesive that can stick strongly to moist surfaces, yet be detached easily by exposing it to specific frequencies of light.
    • January 10, 2019
      FOE alum Chris Urmson leads Aurora, the developer of a full-stack self-driving software system for automobile manufacturers. Aurora is collaborating with a number of automotive retailers to integrate its technology into their vehicles and make self-driving cars a “practical reality.”
    • January 7, 2019
      FOE alum and NAE member Gang Chen at MIT reports that his lab is engineering a device that can use solar heat to turn water into superheated steam. The development may one day enable sterilization in medical settings and provide clean drinking water, both persistent problems in developing countries.
    • January 3, 2019
      FOE alum and NAE member John Rogers at Northwestern University has developed a device that delivers electrical pulses to damaged peripheral nerves in rats, which then have accelerated nerve regrowth and enhanced muscle strength and control. The wireless device is the size of a small coin and operates for about two weeks before being absorbed into the body.
    • December 20, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Paula Hammond at MIT has engineered a new molecule that can administer drugs deep into cartilage in an effort to help reverse or slow the tissue breakdown associated with osteoarthritis, which affects 20 to 30 million people in the US.
    • December 17, 2018
      Johns Hopkins University's Noah Cowan (EU-US FOE 2010) studied the constant and seemingly random movement of fish that serves to optimize their sensory feedback, leading to ways to improve sensors in robot design.
    • December 13, 2018
      FOE alum Cynthia Breazeal at MIT engineered Jibo, a crowdfunded robot that has been successfully used to foster connections with elderly patients. Intelligent chatbots offer talking software that is increasingly able to help us manage our emotions.
    • December 10, 2018
      Purdue University's Bryan Boudouris (USFOE 2013) has engineered a glass-like polymer that can be inexpensively and sustainably produced on a large scale, could make smartphones more bendable, and may lead to tailor-made sensors for non-invasive biomedical monitoring.
    • December 6, 2018
      FOE alum Anna Stefanopoulou at the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute is engineering new rechargeable battery technology that could extend electric vehicle ranges and time between mobile phone charges.
    • December 3, 2018
      FOE alum Ronggui Yang at the University of Colorado Boulder has engineered a metamaterial that reflects almost all incoming sunlight while still allowing an object’s stored heat to escape, keeping it cooler than ambient air even in the midday sun.
    • November 29, 2018
      FOE alum W. David Merryman at Vanderbilt University has found a possible way to prevent or even reverse pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a rare, progressive disease characterized by narrowing of and high blood pressure in the small arteries of the lungs.
    • November 26, 2018
      FOE alum Josh Binder at Boeing reports that production was integrated into the development program sooner than in any other airplane. The new craft measures 252 feet long (77 meters), making it Boeing's longest passenger jet, and boasts 12 percent lower fuel consumption and 10 percent lower operating costs than competing airplanes.
    • November 19, 2018
      The University of Cambridge's Clare Grey (JAFOE 2007) is engineering a group of materials that could enable production of batteries that charge significantly faster and deliver much higher power than those made with conventional electrode materials.
    • November 15, 2018
      FOE alum Ana Claudia Arias at the University of California, Berkeley is engineering flexible electronics that can measure oxygen levels anywhere in the body using reflected light rather than transmitted light. The research could lead to improved wound monitoring and more accurate assessment of transplant patients.
    • November 12, 2018
      Cornell University's Hadas Kress-Gazit (USFOE 2014) is engineering a modular robot system that can perceive its surroundings and autonomously assume different shapes suited to the task at hand.
    • November 8, 2018
      Samuel Mao (GAFOE 2008) at the University of California, Berkeley has engineered a new photocatalyst synthesis method that can efficiently decompose water into oxygen and hydrogen using solar light. Hydrogen is growing in popularity as an ecofriendly energy source that can help reduce the air pollution and global warming from other energy sources.
    • November 5, 2018
      Carnegie Mellon University's Christopher Bettinger (USFOE 2011) is engineering an ingestible, electrical method to control the timing of orally-delivered medications. At a precisely-determined moment, all of the medicine can be let loose simultaneously, enabling deposit anywhere in the digestive tract.
    • November 1, 2018
      Purdue University's Kenneth Sandhage (JAFOE 2000) is engineering ceramic-metal plates for heat transfer at higher temperatures and at elevated pressures that would make electricity generation from the sun’s heat more efficient.
    • October 29, 2018
      FOE alum Ken Goldberg at the University of California, Berkeley reports in a study that rather than replace human thinking, AI has the potential to enhance collective intelligence and intellectual diversity, allowing human workers to do more diverse thinking, become more efficient, and undertake more creative, fulfilling labor.
    • October 25, 2018
      The University of Texas at Austin's Guihua Yu (USFOE 2015) is developing a portable, inexpensive, and easy-to-use electronic tag to send wireless alerts to smartphones when a telltale gas is emitted by rotten food.
    • October 18, 2018
      The University of Maryland's Jordan Boyd-Graber (USFOE 2017) says his development of QANTA, an artificial intelligence question-answer system, helped him get chosen as a contestant for the ultimate answer-and-question showdown: Jeopardy!
    • October 15, 2018
      FOE alum Michael McAlpine at the University of Minnesota has engineered a bionic eye prototype using a new 3D-printed device. This adds to the other bionic body parts his team has already created, including a bionic ear, artificial organs for surgeons to practice on, bionic skin, and materials with potential to help people with spinal cord injuries regain function.
    • October 8, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Gregory Deierlein at Stanford recommends systematic reassessment of many of San Francisco's older steel-frame skyscrapers when they are renovated or change owners or tenants and consider regulations mandating that buildings are twice as stiff.
    • October 3, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Frances Arnold at Caltech, who was a speaker at the first US FOE in 1995, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for her pioneering experiments in directed evolution, which harnesses the power of evolution to create biofuels, make more effective pharmaceuticals, and even create more environmentally friendly detergents.
    • October 1, 2018
      FOE alum Nancy Amato at Texas A&M discusses how men outnumber women nearly 2-to-1 in STEM roles on TV and in movies, which may discourage girls from careers in engineering and technology.
    • September 27, 2018
      Stanford's Shanhui Fan (JAFOE 2014) has been able to power a moving light bulb, with the ultimate goal of developing wireless energy transfer to vehicles.
    • September 20, 2018
      Purdue University's Pablo Zavattieri (USFOE 2014) is studying how super-resilient materials found in the animal kingdom owe their strength and toughness to a design strategy that causes cracks to follow the twisting pattern of fibers, preventing catastrophic failure.
    • September 17, 2018
      By manipulating DNA, MIT's Timothy Lu (CAFOE 2017) is bioengineering microbes that, once ingested, work to treat a rare genetic condition — a milestone in synthetic biology.
    • September 13, 2018
      Spencer Lake (USFOE 2018) at Washington University in St. Louis engineered a camera inspired by the Mantis shrimp that captures images of the microscopic structure of elbow ligaments.
    • August 31, 2018
      Caltech's Azita Emami (USFOE 2017) is engineering low-power, energy-efficient ways for the information world to interface with the physical world, including an implantable device that can relay real-time glucose readings to a wearable reader.
    • August 27, 2018
      Yale's Hui Cao (GAFOE 2010) is engineering D-shaped lasers designed to eradicate instabilities that can limit their usage in materials processing, large-scale displays, laser surgery, and LiDar.
    • August 20, 2018
      FOE alum Jeff Sakamoto at the University of Michigan is engineering a new rechargeable battery technology that could double the output of current lithium ion cells, an advance that promises to extend electric vehicle ranges and the time between mobile phone charges.
    • August 13, 2018
      FOE alum Aydogan Ozcan at UCLA is developing new opportunities to use an artificial intelligence-based passive device to instantaneously analyze data and images to classify objects.
    • August 9, 2018
      MIT's Hadley Sikes (USFOE 2017) has engineered a new sensor that sees inside cancer cells to determine whether they are responding to a particular type of chemotherapy drug.
    • August 6, 2018
      FOE alum Mona Jarrahi at UCLA has engineered a photodetector that operates across a broad range of light, processes images more quickly, and is more sensitive than current technology to low levels of light, with applications in night vision, medical diagnostics, and environmental sensing technologies.
    • August 2, 2018
      Sameer Sonkusale (USFOE 2015) at Tufts University has engineered a prototype smart bandage designed to actively monitor chronic wounds and even deliver drug treatments, which will particularly help patients who are older, non-ambulatory, and limited in their ability to provide self-care.
    • July 30, 2018
      Jeannette Garcia (USFOE 2015) at IBM Almaden Research Center is working on ways to “upcycle” plastics, breaking them down into new types of monomers to enable the ability to take something like the plastic that is used for soda bottles (polyethylene terephthalate, or PET) and turn it into the plastic used for high-performance products, like airplane parts.
    • July 26, 2018
      MIT's Sangbae Kim (USFOE 2016) has engineered a robotic cheetah that is able to climb stairs and gallop across rough terrain without using cameras or any other visual sensors. Instead, it “feels” its way through its surroundings, with potential applications for exploring disaster zones and other dangerous or inaccessible environments.
    • July 23, 2018
      FOE alum and NAE member Samir Mitragotri at Harvard is developing advances leading to the delivery of blood-sugar-regulating hormones in a pill, long regarded as the “holy grail” of diabetes treatment.
    • June 28, 2018
      Eighty-four of the nation’s brightest young engineers have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 24th annual US Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium.
    • 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.
    • February 15, 2018
      Check out the list of 13 FOE alumni newly-elected as NAE members.
    • January 25, 2018
      Check out the list of 12 FOE alumni selected as NAI 2017 Fellows.
    • 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.
    • 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.