This award partially supports a series of three national and international Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) Symposia organized by the National Academy of Engineering: Japan-America FOE (June 6-8, 2011, in Tsukuba, Japan), U.S. FOE (September 19-21, 2011, in Mountain View, CA), and European Union-U.S. FOE (November 3-5, 2011, in Irvine, CA). Each symposium focuses on four topical areas. Topics for 2011 include additive manufacturing, engineering sustainable buildings, neuroprosthetics, semantic processing, robotics, smart grid, bio-inspired materials, massive data management, future cities/sustainable cities, advanced manufacturing, and biology and computing.

Between sixty and one hundred outstanding, early-career scientists and engineers participate in each symposium. Sessions consist of presentations by speakers on leading edge research, emerging technologies, and opportunities for collaboration across science and engineering fields. The symposia foster interdisciplinary and international collaborations and serve as a reference point for many of the emerging frontiers in research and innovation in the U.S. Presentations from the U.S. FOE seminar will be posted on the NAE FOE web site.

Project Report

This award supported three Frontiers of Engineering Symposia in 2011: The Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering (June 6-8 in Osaka, Japan), U.S. Frontiers of Engineering (September 19-21 in Mountain View, California), and the E.U.-U.S. Frontiers of Engineering (November 3-5 in Irvine, California). In an effort to build U.S. innovative capacity and to enhance networks among young engineers, the National Academy of Engineering instituted in 1995 a program called Frontiers of Engineering. Initially a meeting involving only U.S.-based engineers, the program has expanded to include bilateral meetings with Germany, Japan, India, China, and the EU. The bilateral symposia are organized in cooperation with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Engineering Academy of Japan, the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the European Council of Applied Sciences and Engineering, respectively. The activity is designed to bring together a select group of engineers (ages 30-45) from industry, academia, and government labs to discuss pioneering technical work and leading edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors. The goal of the symposia is to facilitate an interdisciplinary transfer of knowledge and methodology that could eventually lead to collaborative networks of engineers within the United States and between engineers from the United States and partnering countries. About 100 outstanding young engineers attended the U.S. meeting and 30 from each country attended the bilateral FOEs with Japan and the E.U. (30 EU attendees from nine countries). The program committee, consisting of distinguished younger engineers, organized the symposium and identified topics and speakers. The symposia had four formal sessions over a 2-1/2 -day period as well as technical tours and break-out sessions. Plenary sessions consisted of talks by speakers on advances and opportunities in their engineering fields followed by discussion. Speakers focused their talks on cutting-edge research and innovation, keeping in mind that the audience was technically sophisticated but nonspecialist. The topics covered at the symposia were: Japan-America FOE: Massive Data Management, Smart Grid, Bio-inspired Materials, Robotics U.S. Frontiers of Engineering: Additive Manufacturing, Semantic Processing, Engineering Sustainable Buildings, Neuroprosthetics E.U.-U.S. Frontiers of Engineering: Sustainable Cities, Manufacturing..The Future, Networks in Biology and Personalized Medicine, Smart Grid There has always been cross-fertilization among engineering disciplines and across engineering fields. However, the nature of emerging technologies and how they fit together to create products and processes that drive economic growth has (1) made the need for engineers to understand each other’s disciplines more acute, and (2) enhanced the value in that interaction, particularly among those developing and using new technologies. The meetings created the opportunity for sharing of research insights and techniques that may spur collaboration and will in the case of the bilateral meetings deepen technical and cultural understanding between participating countries’ engineers. U.S. innovative capacity is strengthened through these exchanges. Based on past experience, numerous follow-on joint research projects between attendees are anticipated. At a minimum, attendees maintain contact with each other following the meeting, with such interaction impacting the direction and results of their subsequent research and technical work in both academe and industry. The interdisciplinary nature of the meeting facilitates interactions that would not have occurred otherwise. Additional information about the Frontiers of Engineering symposia, including programs, attendee lists, papers, presentation slides, and video can be accessed at .

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National Academy of Sciences
United States
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